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Human Bites (cont.)

Human Bites Medications

Antibiotics: The decision to use antibiotics also involves a number of factors about the bite and the person who was bitten. In many cases there are no definite answers from medical research, and doctors use their judgment to determine if antibiotics are used. The current recommendations from the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) call for the use of amoxicillin/clavulanate (Augmentin) or ampicillin/sulbactam (Unasyn) for human bites that may become or are infected because such antibiotics are usually effective against Eikenella corrodens, a bacteria species often involved in human bite infections.

Following are some general points on antibiotic use in human bites.

  • Minor bites with no or superficial skin break: Antibiotics are not needed.
  • Infected bites: Antibiotics are given either orally or by IV, depending on how severe the infection is.
  • Closed fist injuries: Antibiotics are usually needed in this human bite. When initially treated, oral antibiotics are usually prescribed. Sometimes the doctor in the emergency department may give the first dose into the muscle or veins. If already infected, these bites are usually treated in the hospital with IV antibiotics.
  • Medications to prevent transmission of HIV: The patient and their doctor should discuss the risk of transmission of HIV by a bite and the possibility of starting medications that decrease the risk of HIV transmission. The faster these medications are started, the more effective they seem to be.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/17/2015

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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.

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