Human bites can be as dangerous as or even more dangerous than animal bites because of the types of bacteria and viruses contained in the human mouth. Human bites that break the skin can become infected. If someone cuts his or her knuckles on another person's teeth, as might happen in a fight, this is also considered a human bite. And a cut on the knuckles from your own teeth, such as from a fall, is considered a human bite.
To take care of a human bite that breaks the skin:
- Stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a clean, dry cloth.
- Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
- Apply a clean bandage. Cover the affected area with a nonstick bandage.
- Seek emergency medical care.
If you haven't had a tetanus shot within five years, your doctor may recommend a booster. In this case, get the booster shot within 48 hours of the injury.
Feb. 11, 2022
- Kermott CA, et al., eds. Emergencies and urgent care. In: Mayo Clinic Guide to Self-Care. 7th ed. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
- Human and mammal bites. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/bites_and_stings/human_and_mammal_bites.html. Accessed Jan. 3, 2018.