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Shark Bite (cont.)

Shark Attack Follow-up

For minor wounds that are treated and the patient discharged home, there needs to be close follow up to insure that an infection doesn't develop.

Signs of infection include fever or chills, redness, warmth, swelling, and pus at the wound site. Red streaks may develop from the wound area up the arm or the leg. These are all signs that an infection may exist and require re-evaluation by a healthcare provider.

Wound and dressing changes will need to be discussed with the care provider.

Shark Attack Prevention

  • Avoid the shark's favored hunting grounds. Sharks frequent drop-offs from shallow to deep water, troughs between submerged sand bars, and deep channels.
  • Avoid the water if bleeding. Menstrual blood has not been shown to increase the risk of shark attack, but a shark in the vicinity can likely sense the blood.
  • Avoid wearing or carrying shiny objects, such as jewelry or brightly contrasting colors.
  • Spear fishing, fishing, and chumming the water will likely attract sharks.
  • Erratic swimming or splashing at the surface may cause a shark to mistake a person for its natural prey.
  • Beware especially of any shark greater than 2 meters, or about 6 feet, in length.
  • Agitated swimming movements by a shark, particularly if accompanied by a raised snout, lowered pectoral fins, and hump-backed posture, may indicate aggressiveness.
  • Avoid swimming at dawn, dusk, and nighttime hours when many sharks actively feed.
  • Swim in a group because sharks are more likely to attack if a person is isolated and alone.

Shark Attack Outlook

Injuries from shark bites can be minor or life threatening. Massive tissue loss and large amounts of bleeding most often carry a worse prognosis. Wound infections are also a serious concern. Having survived the attack long enough to reach medical care, however, makes it very likely that continued survival and recovery are possible.

Shark Attack Pictures

Classic shark bites are crescent-shaped. Parallel cuts caused by the shark raking its teeth on the victim are also common. Image courtesy of Fazal Hussain, MD.
Classic shark bites are crescent-shaped. Parallel cuts caused by the shark raking its teeth on the victim are also common. Image courtesy of Fazal Hussain, MD. Click to view larger image.

Image Courtesy of John Winfield, MD.
Image Courtesy of John Winfield, MD. Click to view larger image.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REEFERENCE:

"Initial management of animal and human bites"
UpToDate.com


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/26/2016
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Bites, Animal »

Because many animal bites are never reported, determining the exact incidence of animal bite wounds in the United States, let alone the world, is difficult.

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