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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.

Apply direct pressure

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.