Font Size

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

Must Read Articles Related to Human Bites

Antibiotics Antibiotics are prescribed to individuals to ...learn more >>
Bruises A bruise is a common skin injury that results in a discoloration of the skin. Symptoms and signs include pain and discolored skin. Applying a cold compress may ...learn more >>
Cellulitis Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and soft tissues that causes swelling, redness, tenderness and warmth. Treatment will involve antibiotics. Sever...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Human Bites:

Human Bites - Experience

Please share your experience with a human bite.

Human Bites - Cause

What type of bite did you get, and what was the cause?

Human Bites - Self Care at Home

What first aid did you use for a human bite?

Human Bites - Medical Treatment

What type of medical treatment did you receive for a human bite?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Human Bites »

Human bite wounds are notoriously deceptive and are perhaps the most potentially disastrous type of bite wound because of the abundant pathogenic oral flora found in humans.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary