How To Stop Bleeding

Everyday Illnesses Common Remedies
First Aid For Treating Bleeding Wounds

Although bleeding can be scary and dramatic, most cases are not fatal, provided the injury is treated immediately. Bleeding can usually be stopped by pressing down on the wound, which slows the flow of blood and helps it to clot. The flow of blood can also be slowed by raising the injured area above the heart, but this is safe only if no broken bones are involved.

Important: If severe bleeding is left untreated it can lead to potentially fatal shock.

How To Treat Severe Bleeding

1. Lay the person down. Remove clothing from around the wound if you can without wasting time or causing distress. Press down hard on the wound with a gauze swab, a handkerchief or a similar piece of material, or with bare hands. If there is something stuck in the wound press on surrounding skin.
2. If possible, raise the wounded area above the level of the heart to reduce bleeding. When blood flow stops, apply a sterile dressing or a clean handkerchief or cotton pillow case.
3. If bleeding continues, apply another dressing on top of the first. Tie it in place with a bandage or strip of material. Keep the person still. Give them sips of fluid, but no food.

If Something Is Stuck In The Wound

Do not try to remove a piece of glass or any other object embedded in a large wound -you could do further damage to tissue or increase bleeding. Instead:

1. Apply pressure to the sides of the wound to reduce bleeding and hold for up to 10 minutes. If you can, bind the wound by placing pads on either side of it.

2. Place a bandage around the pads to hold them in place. Take care not to place the bandage over the embedded object.

Is The Bandage Too Tight?

Loosen a bandage tied around an arm or leg if you notice any of the following signs:

• Tingling fingers or toes
• Very cold fingers or toes
• Nails that turn blue or white
• Inability to move fingers or toes
• A pulse that gets weaker.

When Bleeding Still Does Not Stop

If severe bleeding from an injured arm or leg cannot be stopped by raising it and applying direct pressure on the wound, it may be possible to stop it using one of the body's 2 main arterial pressure points. These are places where an artery can be pressed against an underlying bone to stop the flow of blood. This technique should be used only to reduce severe bleeding, only as a last resort, and only with great care. Reduce the pressure after 10 minutes to restore circulation. If bleeding resumes, continue pressure as long as necessary.

The Femoral (Thigh) Pressure Point

High inside the thigh, the femoral vein can be pressed against the pelvis to stop blood flow. Lay the person down, bending the injured leg up at the knee. Press firmly in the centre of the crease of the groin, one thumb above the other, pushing against the rim of the pelvis. Do not press hard for more than 10 minutes.

The Brachial (Arm) Pressure Point

The large vein in the arm is called the brachial artery. It runs along the inside of the upper arm. To stop bleeding from the lower arm, it needs to be pressure against the upper arm bone. Hold the person's arm at a right angle to the body as shown in the diagram. Then put one hand under the upper arm and press your fingers firmly against the bone.

Bleeding From Burst Varicose Vein

If a varicose vein bursts or is injured, severe blood loss can occur rapidly. Lay the person down and press on the wound with a dressing. If no dressing is available to hand press the wound with your bare fingers.
Raise the leg above the level of the heart and maintain the pressure for up to 10 minutes to stop the bleeding. Put a clean dressing on the wound and tie it firmly in place with some sort of a bandage. If bleeding continues, place additional dressings and bandages over the first. Let the patient rest, and prop up the leg with pillows or on a chair seat. If the bleeding is severe and does not stop with elevation and application of pressure, call an ambulance.

Bleeding Nose, Mouth Or Ear

An injured person who is bleeding from the nose, mouth or ear may be suffering from a severe injury to the head, the chest or the abdominal region. A fractured skull may cause a trickle of blood from the nose or ears. An injury to the lungs, such as a puncture caused by a fractured rib, may result in pink frothy blood dribbling from the mouth and nose.
First, dial 999 for an ambulance. Then, if the patient is unconscious, check the airway, breathing and circulation, and start artificial respiration if necessary. If conscious, the patient should be placed in a half-sitting position with the head tilted toward the side from which the blood is coming. Cover the bleeding point with a pad of material, but don't apply pressure. Don't give the patient anything to eat or drink.

Bleeding Scalp

An injury to the scalp may look more threatening than it actually is because the scalp has a rich supply of blood and bleeds profusely, even from small cuts. And because the skin of the scalp is stretched tight over the head, a wound may also gape open, giving the impression of a much larger and more serious injury than might be the case. However, if the injury has been severe, or if the person has been unconscious, or is drowsy or vomiting, they should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible. In the meantime, don't clean the wound or remove any foreign matter; as long as there are no bone fragments or a skull depression, try to control the bleeding by holding your hand or a compress, such as the inside of a clean, folded handkerchief, on the wound.

Other First Aid

How to treat burns and scalds: Fast and immediate tips.
How to stop nosebleeds: First aid.
How to treat someone with electric shock: Be aware of your own safety.
How to stop someone choking: Back slapping technique and abdominal thrusts.
How to treat seizures: Children and adults.
How to treat sunburn: Home remedies.
How to treat someone in shock: From severe injury.
How to treat heatstroke: Heat stroke and heat exhaustion first aid.

• Other health issues? See: How to treat common illnesses.

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