Human Bite Wounds Also Require Prompt Treatment

There is no doubt that a dog can bite a man. However, many doctors don’t know how to treat a human who has been bit by a dog. Mike Tyson articles aside: Researchers say that there are few studies on how to treat bites in humans, even though these bites account for as high as 23% of all bite injuries. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston examined 40 cases of human bites over the past 10 years. They found that prompt treatment with antibiotics was necessary to lower the risk of serious infections.

These findings are published in the June issue Otolaryngology Head and Surgery.

According to researchers, 15%-20% of all human bites occur in the head and neck. Other common areas include the arms and hands in men, the breasts and genitalia in women, and the arms and legs in men. Other common causes of human bite wounds are sports accidents and sexual activities. Although most bite wounds do not require medical attention and are usually minor, researchers have found that many victims who sustain severe injuries are too embarrassed to seek treatment.

Karen L. Stierman MD, University of Texas Medical Branch researcher, and her colleagues claim that human bite wound treatment has been controversial for many decades. Early reports from the 1920s and 30s described severe infections following human bites. Their study revealed that victims of human bites were on average 29 years old, and 93% of them were male. More than half of those who suffered bites were inmates of Texas Department of Criminal Justice at time of injury.

Avulsion, which is a tearing of the skin, was the most common human bite wound. 67% of all bites occurred in the neck and head regions.

Ten of the 40 wounds that required medical or surgical treatment were infected. Failure to receive intravenous antibiotics for at least 48 hours increased the chance of infection. The majority of victims sought treatment within five hours of their injury. However, three of the four infected patients required additional time before being treated. Researchers concluded that human bite wounds must be treated immediately to decrease the chance of infection.

Top 10: Which animals are the most bite-friendly?

  • Hyena

Bite force: 1,100 psi
Distribution: Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Grizzly bear

Bite force: 1,160 psi
Distribution: Canada and USA

  • Polar bear

Bite force: 1,200 psi
Distribution: Arctic Circle

  • Gorilla

Bite force: 1,300 psi
Distribution: Central Africa Forests

  • Bull shark

Bite force: 1,350 psi
Distribution: Worldwide distribution of warm coastal areas, rivers, and lakes

  • Jaguar

Bite force: 1,500 psi
Distribution: Southwestern USA and Central America. South America

  • Hippopotamus

Bite force: 1,800 psi
Distribution: Sub-Saharan Africa

  • American alligator

Bite Force: 2,125 psi
Distribution: Southern USA

  • Saltwater crocodile

Bite force: 3,700 psi
Distribution: India, Southeast Asia and Australia

  • Nile crocodile

Bite force: 5,000 psi
Distribution: Sub-Saharan Africa

Updated 01/24/22