The typical animal bite results in a laceration, tear, puncture, or crush injury. Cat bites are mostly found on the arms and hands, with deep puncture wounds that can reach to muscles, tendons, and bones. Human bites result from fights, sexual activity, and seizures. They may also be due to spousal or child abuse. Children often bite other children, but those bites are hardly ever severe. Human bites are capable of transmitting a wide range of dangerous diseases, including hepatitis B, syphilis, and tuberculosis.
People do not always feel a spider bite. In most cases, spider bites produce only minor symptoms. The first, and possibly only, evidence of a bite may be a mild swelling of the injured area and puncture marks or blisters. The affected area may be painful, itchy, or discolored. With more serious bites, there may be severe muscle cramps and rigidity of the abdominal muscles shortly after being bitten. Other possible symptoms include excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, headaches, fever, chills, edema, and dizziness, as well as problems with breathing, vision, and speech. In addition, a brown spider's bite can lead to necrotic arachnidism, in which the tissue around the bite dies. This can produce an open sore that that can take years to heal completely. The symptoms of bee and wasp stings include pain, redness, swelling, and itchiness at the area of the sting. Multiple stings can have much more severe consequences. The danger signs of a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylactic shock, need immediate medical attention. They include nausea, chest pain, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Venomous pit viper bites usually begin to swell within 10 minutes and sometimes are painful. Other symptoms include edema at the wound site, skin blisters and discoloration, weakness, sweating, nausea, faintness, dizziness, bruising, and tender lymph nodes. Severe poisoning can lead to tingling sensations, muscle contractions, an elevated heart rate, rapid breathing, large drops in body temperature and blood pressure, vomiting of blood, and coma. Coral snake bites are painful, and the effects of the venom may include tingling at the wound site, weakness, nausea, vomiting, excessive salivation, and irrational behavior. Nerves can become paralyzed, causing double vision, difficulty swallowing and speaking, and respiratory problems. Poisonous snakes often introduce little or no venom into the victim's body when they bite. The symptoms of these bites are not so severe. However, there is still a danger that the wounds can become infected by harmful microorganisms from the snake's mouth.
Jellyfish venom is delivered by barbs located on their tentacles. These barbs can penetrate the skin of people who brush up against them, even if the jellyfish is dead or the tentacle is severed from the body. Painful and itchy red lesions arise instantly on contact. The pain can continue up to 48 hours. Severe cases may lead to skin necrosis, muscle spasms and cramps, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, excessive sweating, and other symptoms. In rare cases, jellyfish venom may cause cardiorespiratory failure.
Tail spines are the delivery mechanism for stingray venom. Stingray venom produces immediate, excruciating pain that lasts several hours. They cause deep puncture wounds, which may become infected if pieces of the spines become embedded in them. Sometimes the victim suffers a severe reaction, including vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhaging, a drop in blood pressure, and cardiac arrhythmia.
Signs of infection in a bite or sting site include redness, pain, swelling, warmth, and a discharge filled with pus. An inflammation of the connective tissue, called cellulitis, may also result. Sometimes systemic, and possibly life-threatening, infections develop, especially among those who are immunosuppressed.
Patience Paradox, Teresa G. Odle, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,