How to control bleeding from a wound
One of the major reasons why people lose a lot of blood even in minor accidents is that they or people around them are unaware of the proper way to control bleeding. This is what the following text attempts to address.
Steps taken to stop bleeding from a wound
- Raise the injured part.
- With a clean thick cloth (or your hand if there is no cloth) press directly on the wound. Keep pressing until the bleeding stops. This may take 20 minutes or sometimes an hour or more. This type of direct pressure will stop the bleeding of nearly all wounds—sometimes even when a part of the body has been cut off.
Occasionally direct pressure will not control bleeding, especially when the wound is
very large or an arm or leg has been cut off. If this happens:
- Keep pressing on the wound.
- Keep the wounded part as high as possible.
- You can maintain pressure by binding the wound tightly with a bandage or a piece of clean clothing.
- Squeeze at pressure points on the artery that brings blood to that part of the body. Pressure points are where, using the flat part of your fingers, you can push the artery against a bone to shut off or slow down the flow of blood
♦ Keep pressing for 20 minutes before looking to see if the bleeding has stopped. Keep pressing with your other hand on the wound itself. Applying pressure is hard work—do not give up!
• Using a tourniquet to stop the bleeding usually results in total loss of the arm or leg. Only use a tourniquet if you have no other option. Never use a string or wire. It can cut right through the skin.
• Never use dirt, kerosene, lime, or coffee to stop bleeding.
• When bleeding or injury is severe, raise the feet and lower the head to prevent shock.
• Keep blood from getting into any cuts or sores on your skin
HOW TO STOP NOSEBLEEDS
- Sit quietly and upright.
- Blow the nose gently to remove mucus and blood.
- Have the person pinch the nose firmly for 10 minutes or until the bleeding has stopped.
If this does not control the bleeding . . .
Pack the nostril with a wad of cotton, leaving part of it outside the nose. If possible, first wet the
cotton with Vaseline or lidocaine with epinephrine
Then pinch the nose firmly again. Do not let go for 10 minutes or more. Do not tip the head back.
Leave the cotton in place for a few hours after the bleeding stops; then take it out very carefully
In older persons especially, bleeding may come from the back part of the nose and cannot be stopped by pinching it. In this case, have the person hold a cork, corn cob, or other similar object between his teeth and, leaning forward, sit quietly and try not to swallow until the bleeding stops. (The cork helps keep him from swallowing, and that gives the blood a chance to clot.)
If a person’s nose bleeds often, smear a little Vaseline inside the nostrils twice a day. Or sniff water with a little salt in it
Eating oranges, tomatoes, and other fruits may help to strengthen the veins so that the nose bleeds less.
SEVERE EXTERNAL BLEEDING
When bleeding is severe, it can be dramatic and distressing. If bleeding is not controlled shock will develop and the casualty may no longer be responsive.
Bleeding from the mouth or nose may affect breathing. When treating severe bleeding, check first whether there is an object embedded in the wound; take care not to press directly on the object. Do not let the casualty have anything to eat or drink as he may need an anesthetic later.
What you should bear in mind
- Do not allow the casualty to eat or drink because an anesthetic may be needed
- Remove or cut away clothing to expose a wound if necessary
- If the casualty is unresponsive, open the airway and check breathing (The unresponsive casualty)
- To control bleeding
- To prevent and minimize the effects of shock
- To minimize infection
- To arrange urgent removal to hospital
WHAT TO DO
Apply direct pressure over the wound with your fingers using a sterile dressing or clean, non-fluffy pad. If you do not have a dressing, ask the casualty to apply direct pressure himself. If there is an object in the wound, apply pressure on either side of the object (opposite).
Ask a helper to call for emergency help. Tell him or her to give ambulance control details of the site of the bleeding and the extent of the bleeding.
Secure the dressing with a bandage that is firm enough to maintain pressure, but not so tight that it impairs circulation.
As the shock is likely to develop, help the casualty to lie down – on a rug or blanket if there is one, as this will protect him from the cold. Raise and support his legs so that they are above the level of his heart.
If bleeding shows through the dressing, apply a second one on top of the first. If blood seeps through the second dressing, remove both and apply a fresh one, ensuring that pressure is applied accurately at the point of bleeding.
Support the injured part in with a sling and/or bandage. Check the circulation beyond the bandage every ten minutes. If the circulation is impaired, loosen the bandage and reapply
Monitor and record the casualty’s vital signs – breathing, pulse, and level of response – while waiting for help to arrive.
SPECIAL CASE IF THERE IS AN OBJECT IN THE WOUND
Control bleeding by pressing firmly on either side of the embedded object to push the edges of the wound together. Do not press directly on the object, or try to remove it.
To protect the wound, drape a piece of gauze over the object. Build up padding on either side, then carefully bandage over the object and pads without pressing on the object. Check the circulation beyond the bandage every ten minutes. If the circulation is impaired, loosen the bandage and reapply.
Call for emergency help. Monitor and record vital signs – breathing, pulse, and level of response – while waiting for help to arrive. Treat for shock if necessary.