Human Bites (cont.)
Human Bites Diagnosis
The doctor will begin an evaluation generally with a series of questions that will include how the bite happened, when it occurred, what first aid procedures were performed, and any symptoms the patient is having. The doctor will want to know if tetanus shots are up-to-date, so bring any records of immunizations the person may have. A list of the person's medical problems and medications will also help expedite care.
- Physical examination: This involves looking in and around the wound to see what damage has occured. With minor bites this is often just a quick look to see if the skin is broken or not. With deeper bites the doctor may have to anesthetize the area to allow a thorough examination of the affected area. Tests of nerve and tendon function (how well a patient can feel things and move body parts) are usually part of the examination.
- X-rays: Most bites will not require this unless a broken bone is possible. X-rays are often obtained on closed fist injuries and other bites to the hand to rule out gas formation or foreign bodies. X-rays may also be obtained if the doctor believes a piece of a broken tooth may be in the wound.
- Blood tests: Blood tests are usually not performed in human bites. Even infected bites do not usually require a blood test to make the diagnosis. If a patient has to stay in the hospital, chances are likely some blood tests will be ordered. If there is a concern about the transmission of HIV or other illness due to a bite, the doctor might order blood tests. These tests can include an HIV test (to determine baseline status) as well as tests to determine if the patient will be able to tolerate other possible medications.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/17/2015
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