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Wilderness: Marine Bite (cont.)


Marine Animal Bite Treatment

  • All bite wounds require immediate thorough cleansing with plenty of fresh tap water. Gently scrub the wound with soap and water to remove foreign material. If a syringe is available, it should be used to provide high-pressure irrigation. Remove dead tissue with a sterile scissors or scalpel.
  • After cleansing, apply a topical bacitracin ointment 3 times per day.
  • Wounded extremities should be immobilized and elevated.
  • Puncture wounds and bites are usually not sutured (stitched) unless they involve the face.
  • Oral antibiotics are usually recommended to prevent infection. If infection develops, continue antibiotics for at least 5 days after all signs of infection have cleared. Check for drug allergy prior to starting any antibiotic. A doctor can recommend the right antibiotic. Some antibiotics can cause increased sensitivity to the sun, so use a sunscreen (at least SPF 15).
  • Relieve pain with 1-2 tablets of acetaminophen (Tylenol) 325-500 mg pain relievers every 4 hours and/or 1-2 tablets of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) 200 mg every 6-8 hours.

When to Seek Medical Care for Marine Animal Bites

  • All but the mildest bite wounds require prompt medical attention.
  • Consult a doctor about treatment with available medications.

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


"Initial management of animal and human bites"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/25/2016
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