First Aid: Bleeding
Severe bleeding is a life-threatening medical emergency. The rapid loss of just two pints of blood can result in shock and loss of consciousness. A victim can bleed to death in a short time.
- To stop bleeding:
- Apply direct pressure on the wound.
- Cover with a sterile gauze pad—or the cleanest cloth readily available. Concerns about infection are secondary when it comes to preventing massive blood loss.
- Press the pad firmly over the wound using the palm of your hand. Don’t lift the pad to check the wound—it will only renew bleeding.
- When a pad becomes soaked, put a fresh one directly over the old pad.
- If the wound is on a limb and there’s no fracture, raise the limb above the level of the heart. Gravity will reduce the blood pressure in the limb.
- Direct pressure and elevation are usually sufficient to stop bleeding. If profuse bleeding continues, try shutting off circulation in the artery that supplies blood to the injured limb.