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Shark Bite (cont.)

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.

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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/19/2014
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