The actions of Uruguay striker Luis Suarez in this year’s World Cup shocked the world. In response to Suarez’s biting of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, FIFA has handed down a 9-match and 4-month suspension.
Matches can create a cocktail of emotions in athletes, with large helpings of frustration and anger. In some occasions, an athlete may be blinded by his/her emotions and physically lash out against an opponent. Of course, this can easily happen regardless of the level of competition, be it a youth, college level or professional sport.
While most people are focused on trying to figure out what possessed Suarez to bite, health experts claim that people should be more concerned about the bite itself. An article from Forbes explains further:
Our mouths are host to nearly 200 species of bacteria, and so the concern for developing a bacterial infection after a bite is a real concern. Staphylococcus and Streptococcus are commonly responsible for infections as well as other so-called anaerobic bacteria which thrive in low oxygen conditions. A particularly concerning anaerobic bacteria in human bites is Eikenella corrodens, which can lead to chronic infection as well as abscesses.
The importance of thorough wound cleaning, irrigation and debridement is crucial to prevent a wound infection. Tetanus immunization should be updated as well.
It seems unlikely that the Suarez incident would happen to a professional athlete in Everett, Washington, but sports professionals in the city can nonetheless learn from the advice. In the event that you or a teammate are bitten by an opposing player—or an animal, for that matter—check the skin for signs of penetration. In cases where the skin is intact, run the wound through warm water with anti-bacterial soap. You may also apply antibacterial ointment and an ice pack to ease the pain.
If the skin was penetrated, do not wait until the end of the match before seeking medical attention. Immediately proceed to an Everett urgent care center, specifically to have any debris removed and to have the wound disinfected.
After treatment, the person should be monitored carefully for a few days. If a fever develops and lasts more than three days, drop by an urgent care in North Everett, such as U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group. An experienced doctor can help determine the type of infection and prescribe the appropriate antibiotic and the correct dosage.
(Source: Why Some Athletes Bite: Luis Suarez Takes Center Stage; Forbes; June 25, 2014)