First aid treatment for human bites

Understanding and managing human bites: Essential first aid training

Human bites are a unique and potentially severe form of injury that can occur in various settings, from domestic disputes to sports events and educational environments. Understanding how to treat these injuries effectively is crucial for immediate care and preventing infection and further complications. In this blog, Rose explores essential first aid practices for human bites, backed by statistics, legislation, and best practice guidelines.

Key facts and statistics

Human bites can often be underestimated in their severity. However, they carry a higher risk of infection compared to animal bites. Studies show that up to 15% of human bite wounds become infected due to the high bacteria levels in the human mouth. Recognising the signs of a human bite and knowing the immediate steps to take is essential in mitigating risks and promoting swift recovery.

Key definitions

  • Human bite - Any wound received from the teeth of another person, which can break the skin and cause injury.
  • First aid - The initial care given to a victim of injury or illness to minimise the risk of further harm, administered before professional medical help is available.

Relevant legislation and regulations

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) mandates that employers ensure the provision of adequate first aid equipment, facilities, and personnel, including training relevant to the risks of the workplace (Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981). Effectively handling injuries such as human bites also involves compliance with infection control standards as outlined by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Best practice

  • Cleaning the wound - Rinse the bite with warm water and mild soap.
  • Disinfection - Apply a gentle antiseptic to reduce risk of infection.
  • Dressing - Cover the wound with a sterile bandage.
  • Medical assessment - Seek professional medical advice, especially if the skin is significantly broken.

Immediate actions

  • Calm and reassure - The person bitten may be in shock; calming them down is crucial as you administer first aid.
  • Evaluate the wound - Determine if there are deep punctures or if the skin is bruised or abraded.

When to seek medical help

  • Signs of infection - Redness, swelling, increased pain, or pus indicates infection.
  • Severe wounds - Deep punctures might require stitches or antibiotics; professional evaluation is crucial.
  • Unknown vaccination history - Tetanus shots may be necessary if the bitten person’s vaccination history is unclear.

Prevention tips

  • Education - Regular training and awareness can significantly reduce the incidence of bites.
  • Conflict resolution - Training in handling aggression and understanding triggers in conflict-prone settings can help avoid such incidents.


Every organisation should have at least one individual trained in first aid, including treating human bites, to ensure immediate and effective response. Regular first aid refresher courses, offered by certified bodies like The Mandatory Training Group, are recommended to keep staff updated on the latest procedures and techniques.


While less discussed, human bites pose a severe risk in various environments. Proper first aid response helps in faster recovery and prevents severe infections. Awareness and preparedness are the keys to managing these incidents effectively.

Enrol in our comprehensive first aid training courses to ensure your team is prepared to handle human bites and other injuries. Click here to explore our first aid training courses and qualifications and keep your environment safe and compliant with the latest health and safety regulations.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Understanding and managing human bites - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK

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