Types of bleeding
Bleeding (or hemorrhaging) caused by cuts, punctures or other wounds can be slight or severe.
Minor bleeding from a small cut, scratch or abrasion usually stops spontaneously within a few minutes as the blood clots over the wound.
You may need to press on the wound to help stop the bleeding. However, it is important to clean and cover the wound to prevent germs from entering and causing an infection.
First aid for slight bleeding
Wash your hands first and then carefully remove any visible loose glass, metal, gravel and so on, from the wound. Rinse the wound under running water, if possible, and gently clean the area with soap and water or an antiseptic wipe.
Always work from the wound outwards. If blood clots have formed, make sure you do not disturb them when you clean as this may cause the wound to bleed again.
continue trying to stop the flow of blood with continued firm pressure on a pad or dressing.
If blood spurts from a wound or flows so slowly that it does not clot, apply direct pressure by pressing a bandage over the wound for several minutes.
If the blood still does not clot, this is considered to be severe bleeding and
should receive urgent medical attention. While waiting for medical help,
- Carefully remove any visible loose objects from the wound.
- Rinse under running water.
- Clean carefully, taking care to wipe away from the wound.
- If the wound is small, cover it with a plaster for bigger wounds, cover with a pad and use a bandage to secure it.
First aid for severe bleeding
- Lie the casualty down, with the head slightly down and the legs up, to prevent fainting.
- If bleeding is from a limb, try to raise the injured part of the body.
This will reduce the flow of blood to it.
- Place a clean cloth over the wound and firmly apply pressure.
- If the wound gapes, hold its ed0 firmly together.
- Maintain the pressure by bandaging a pad tightly over the wound.
- Do not remove the blood-soaked bandage, but apply another cloth or pad over the top and bandage tightly.
- Raise and support an injured limb above the level of the casualty’s heart. Apply pressure.
- Apply an ice pack to the area to constrict the blood vessels and lessen the supply of blood to the wound.
- Try to keep the casualty calm while you wait for medical help, or take him or her to the nearest hospital accident and emergency department as quickly as possible.
Severe bleeding and embedded objects
Do not apply direct pressure on the wound if there is an object firmly embedded in it. Instead:
- Apply pressure immediately above and below the area of the wound.
- Do not probe to remove the embedded object; it may be helping to ‘plug’ the wound and stem the flow of blood.
- Lie the casualty down and raise the injured part of the body, if possible.
- Loosely drape a gauze cloth over the wound and the embedded object.
- Carefully build up pads of cotton wool around the subject matter until they are at least the same height as the object.
- Secure edges of padding with a bandage – but take care not to place the dressing over the object.
Head injuries usually bleed profusely. For superficial wounds, apply steady pressure with a clean cloth or pad.
For severe injuries, tie a clean pad lightly to the wound but do not press as you risk pushing a foreign body or fragment of broken bone into the brain. Call an ambulance or take the casualty to the hospital immediately.
SIGNS OF SEVERE BLOOD LOSS
Urgent medical help is essential for severe blood loss.
Pale or bluish skin, particularly on the lips, ears, nose and nail beds.
A weak pulse, which may also be more rapid.
Bleeding from abdominal injuries
An abdominal wound is a serious injury and the casualty. Should be taken to hospital as quickly as possible after first aid. If no organs are visible, control the bleeding with a pad.
If bodies are visible, cover the wound lightly with a wet, dressing. Do not touch or attempt to reposition the organs.
- Raise the injured limb and press a clean pad over the site of the injury, applying firm pressure to stem the flow of blood.
- Maintain the pressure by bandaging the pad tightly over the wound, but not over a foreign body.
- Call an ambulance to take the casualty to hospital.