Shark bites can occur when one least expects it. Most are not aware that a shark is already close before an attack occurs. Some only receive a bump from a shark which is likely to occur if the shark is only investigating what is happening on the water surface. Since the skin of sharks have miniature, tooth-like structures on their skin, it is abrasive and can result to an abrasion.
The jaws of sharks contain several rows of sharp, triangular, jagged teeth and replaced continuously as they shed. The characteristic shark bites have a crescent-shape. Another common pattern for the wound is a series of parallel cuts which occurs when the shark rakes its teeth.
Always bear in mind that shark bites can result to significant tissue loss. Most cases of bites usually result to cuts that are not deep or puncture wounds that do not damage the blood vessels or nerves.
When to seek medical care for shark bites
A doctor must be consulted for all but minor wounds. When a doctor is seen, the doctor will assess the wound for significant damage such as impairment of the nerves, blood vessels or the internal organs.
All cases of shark bites even the minor ones necessitate medical care. The first aid care involves cleaning the wound and controlling the bleeding. The doctor might decide to start a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. The wounds are also sutured and might attempt to fix deep tissue damage if present.
It is vital to seek emergency care right away. If there is evident bleeding, apply direct pressure. Try to keep the individual calm and provide warmth since the individual might be cold from the water.
Most victims must be assessed by a doctor. If a minor wound is present, wash the wound using water and soap and cover with clean dressing and seek medical care. In case there is significant injury, call for an ambulance.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on shark bites is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage shark bites by taking a standard first aid course with one of training providers.