What Happens To The Body During Decayment?

June 23, 2022

Written by Owner

When someone dies, their body begins to decompose. This process can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, and it’s important to know what happens during this time and how it looks like to properly handle the situation.

In times of tragedy, it is important to be as well-informed as possible. Understanding what happens during this process, can help you identify certain situations and give the correct information to the authorities. This blog will help you understand the process of decomposition and why to call a biohazard cleanup company to handle it.

 

The 4 Stages Of Human Decomposition

Fresh stage

The first stage of decomposition is the fresh or active phase. During this time, bacteria begin breaking down internal tissues and releasing body gases. This usually occurs within minutes to hours after death has occurred. Depending on environmental factors like temperature and humidity levels, it can last anywhere from a few days to several months. 

For example, if an individual dies in hot weather conditions during summertime, they will decompose more quickly than someone who died under cold winter temperatures at night-time.

This process starts with livor mortis when blood stops circulating through the veins due to lack of oxygenation through breathing or heartbeat. 

External signs of decay in this stage include: 

  • Livor mortis (bluish-purple discoloration)
  • Swelling of extremities
  • Green or black discoloration of the skin

 

Bloating stage

The second stage of decomposition is the bloating stage. This usually lasts for a few weeks to several months. As the body decomposes, bacteria break down the tissues and release gases that cause the body to bloat. 

The skin will start to split open as gas accumulates inside tissues, and fluids like urine and saliva may seep from the mouth and nose. In extreme cases, bloating may cause the entire body to burst open.

At this decomposition point, fly activity will increase as they are drawn to the scent of decay. Larvae will also begin to form on or near the corpse as they feed off of dead flesh. 

External signs of decay include: 

  • Swelling of the body
  • Skin blisters and slippage due to gas formation within tissues
  • The separation between the skin and muscle tissue (skin may slip off like a glove)
  • Foul odor caused by decay gases
  • Black or green discoloration of the skin around orifices such as mouth, nose, eyes, and anus. 
  • Maggots on the corpse. 
  • Flies buzz around the face and open wounds of your loved one’s deceased body. 
  • Smell similar to rotting meat in advanced stages when it is time for burial preparation.          

 

Decomposition stage

The third stage is the decomposition or advanced decay phase. This usually occurs two to six weeks past death, but it can last as long as several months also depending on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity levels. 

During this period, internal organs liquefy due to bacterial activity breaking down tissues within the body cavities. 

External signs include: 

  • Loss of skin elasticity (the skin becomes loose) 
  • Skin slippage around areas like knees, elbows, and shoulders where there was no fat present before death 
  • Due to gas accumulation within the body, Bloating causes it to swell and look like a balloon. 
  • There is an increase in maggot activity with larvae moving deeper into the tissue underneath the skin’s surface.        
  • Little flesh is left on the body’s bones because bacteria and/or larvae will have consumed most tissues, muscles, and even bone marrow. 

 

Skeletonization stage

During the final stages of decomposition, your deceased loved one’s body will become a dried-out, mummified-like husk. This usually occurs two to three months after death in temperate conditions and up to six months when extremely hot outside. 

In times like these, grieving family members must be extra careful not to walk through any areas where their legs could inadvertently scrape away some tiny fragments of what used to be bone material mixed with whatever particles might have been left behind from the body itself.

External signs include:

  • Bones will be left with no signs of flesh 

 

No Corpse Is Left Unattended

Death is so unpredictable and sudden that it’s okay to feel confused and overwhelmed about everything going on. If you ever find yourself in a tragic situation that involves a corpse in any of these stages, the best you can do is contact the authorities, followed by a call to USA Bio Care.

If you want to erase that traumatic scene from your home as soon as possible and don’t wish to make any burial arrangements, we completely understand. We perform cadaver removal and disposal services following all legal standards and safety guidelines, along with biohazard treatment procedures. 

No matter what conditions the body is in, our team of cleaning experts ensures you with a disinfected and 100% clean area.

I NEED AFTER DEATH SERVICES

Latest Post

Mold Contamination Dangers You Need To Be Aware Of

Mold Contamination Dangers You Need To Be Aware Of

Mold is a well-known health hazard that can cause various respiratory problems. It's essential to be aware of the dangers of mold contamination and take steps to prevent it. Here, we'll talk about what mold is, how it happens, and how it affects people. Keep reading...

Health & Safety Risks Of Hoarding

Health & Safety Risks Of Hoarding

Hoarding is a serious problem that can pose significant health and safety risks to individuals and those around them. Having a packed home with little to no room to move can create a breeding ground for bacteria and other contaminants.  Understanding the dangers...

What Do You Need From A Death Cleanup Company?

What Do You Need From A Death Cleanup Company?

After death, cleanup companies execute a delicate and essential service for grieving families and the community. These specially trained and certified professionals are equipped to handle the removal of blood, bodily fluids, and other potentially hazardous materials...

Common Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs To Watch Out

Common Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs To Watch Out

Superbugs are strains of bacteria that resist the effects of antibiotics. They can cause severe infections and, in some cases, death. You can encounter them anywhere – in the hospital, at the doctor's office, or even in your own home. At home, you may come in contact...

Types Of Biohazard Waste You Could Run Into

Types Of Biohazard Waste You Could Run Into

Biohazard waste is any kind of waste that has the potential to cause harm to humans or the environment. It can be anything from medical waste to chemical waste. What's particular about this kind of hazard is that you can't just throw it away in the regular garbage....

What To Do When There Is A Blood Spill

What To Do When There Is A Blood Spill

It is difficult to think about what happened when you come across a blood spill. It is even more frightening if the person who got hurt was a loved one or a close friend. After an accident, it can be hard to deal with the aftermath and take care of all the necessary...

How To Deal With an Unattended Death

How To Deal With an Unattended Death

When a loved one dies without family or friends present, it is difficult to know the proper protocol. Things can get a little blurry when an unattended death occurs. Because of the stress you’re going through, you might not be able to think straight about what you’re...

How To Get Rid Of Decomposition Odors Effectively

How To Get Rid Of Decomposition Odors Effectively

We all know that unpleasant smell of decomposing matter. It can be a real nuisance, especially if it’s coming from your trashcan, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Or is there? In this article, we will explore ways to get rid of those pesky odors once and for...