Arm Guards for Biting Help Protect Health Care Workers

Why do health care workers need arm guards for biting?

BitePRO® Bite Resistant Arm Guards is a range of arm guards for biting effective in protecting special educational needs teachers (SpecEd, SpEd or SPED) as well as mental health care professionals and specialists within high secure hospitals from human bites.

According to Jeffrey Barrett (MD Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine), approximately 10%-15% of human bite wounds become infected due to a number of factors. The bacterial inoculum of human bite wounds contains as many as 100 million organisms per millilitre and is made up of 190 different species. A large number of these are anaerobes that flourish in the low redox environment of tartar that lies between human teeth or in areas of gingivitis.

"Human bites have been shown to transmit hepatitis B, hepatitis C, herpes simplex virus (HSV), syphilis, tuberculosis, actinomycosis, and tetanus."

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology states that bite injuries represent 1% of all emergency department admissions in the United States.

Data released by the UK’s NHS Security Management Service reveals that mental health care professionals are far more likely to be attacked than other health care workers with a total of 38,958 assaults in 2008-09, accounting for 71% of attacks on health care staff during that period. However, the percentage of which involved human bites is unknown.

Mark Perry, appeared close to tears at the NASUWT (largest teachers union in the UK) conference in 2009 where he told fellow delegates about his experiences with disturbed ten-year-olds in Wrexham, North Wales. He recounts how he was once bitten so hard that blood was drawn.

Another delegate, Suzanne Nantcurvis, a geography teacher from Llangollen, North Wales, said she knew members who had been forced to pay for immunisations and protective equipment. Suzanne states:

"Biting is quite a big issue in special schools and when risk assessments are completed it's usual to put in the control measure of a protective arm guard"
(taken from UK newspaper ‘Daily Mail’, printed 16th April 2009)

Debbie Townsend, Physical Intervention Training Manager of the Oxfordshire Learning Disability NHS Trust (UK) says:

"Human bites can cause both physical injury, risk of infection, soft tissue damage and psychological distress to staff. Whilst our staff teams are usually aware of the potential for bites from records of previous incidents and preventative steps are taken, additional measure such as bite resistant clothing, to protect staff from a bite may be beneficial."


Ankle bite


How can our range of BitePRO® Arm Guards for biting help?

You are probably aware that bite related injuries can become infected and mental health care professionals, special educational needs teachers and others could subsequently be contaminated with pathogens. Transmissions of potentially life-threatening viruses, such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV are also a possibility. Therefore, clothing which can prevent human teeth from penetrating the skin must be a worthwhile investment for organisations wanting to protect its staff.

If you look at the potential and realistic consequences, especially following a human bite, you must look at all possible options to help protect mental health care professionals, teachers within special needs schools and others working within challenging sectors such as autism and severe learning disabilities. In the very worst-case scenario, if a serious and incurable disease has been transmitted, it can be life threatening.

For these reasons, arm guards for biting as well as bite resistant clothing have recently been issued to countless professionals in countries around the world, therefore reducing the risk of workplace violence related injuries, severe, infections and bruising.

"I have to say we have been very impressed with the help from all persons contacted at BitePRO... As you are probably aware we are a special needs school, which deals with very challenging behaviour, that includes tearing and biting of garments and bedding; finding your company was a godsend to say the least. We have used your arm guards for biting and your material made into pillow covers for some of our children and found they were great for the prevention of holes being made in them." P. Blower, The Loddon School, UK

If you are facing a violent or distressed person you may instinctively want to lift your arms and hands in order to defend yourself and protect your head and facial area. However, you must acknowledge that this consequently exposes your forearm and hands to a higher risk of danger of arm injuries, and that is where the arm guards for biting make a major difference.

Furthermore, the majority of injuries found on police or security guards can be found on their forearms or open hands and are classed as ‘defensive injuries’, indicating a person was defending themselves rather than attacking the other person.

There's no question about it… our range of arm guards for biting will significantly decrease the risk of injuries and subsequently reduce the risk of infections and cross contamination.

BitePRO® have also made available two additional models of their ‘Version 1’ and ‘Version 4’ Arm Guards for biting, which provide padded protection from blunt force trauma, protecting the wearer from the risk of infection following a human bite as well as effectively reducing the severity of potentially extremely painful bruising.


Arm guard comparison


However, based on numerous conversations I've had over the past few years, I can certainly confirm that most sectors seem to be concerned the most about the risk of infection.

Please take a look at our full range of BitePRO® Arm Guards for Biting: www.bite-pro.com

If you want to discuss the potential use of arm guards for biting within your organisation, then please email our BitePRO® Expert, Eve Ichim: ei@bite-pro.com

Eve has developed into a globally recognised and respected expert on bite resistant clothing for mental health care, special educational needs schools and secure/psychiatric hospitals and she would be pleased to hear from you.

Our clients around the world have learned to understand the immense benefits BitePRO® Bite Resistant Clothing is bringing to the safety of their frontline staff:

Many of our international customers seem to love our ‘grab bag’ concept.

The ‘BitePRO® Grab Bag’ contains a range of Arm Guards for biting as well as bite resistant Turtleneck Jackets. Staff can choose from these bite resistant garments based on their requirements at the time. Purchasing the Grab Bag will save 20% on the cost of buying the contents individually (click here).

Take good care of yourself.

Robert Kaiser, CEO

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