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 Emergency & First Aid: Bleeding: First Aid for Bleeding - Emergency Conditions 
American Institute for Preventive Medicine ©

(Note: Give first aid as needed.)

Are any signs of internal bleeding listed above present? (Note: These may take days after an injury to occur.)

Does a person with a bleeding disorder or who takes blood-thinning medicine have a hard time controlling bleeding?

Does a person with a bleeding disorder or who takes blood-thinning medicine have a minor wound?

Are any of these problems present?

  • Frequent nosebleeds.
  • Small red dots or clusters of small, pinpoint-sized red specks under the skin.
  • Easy bruising.
  • Excessive bleeding from cuts.
  • In females, excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding or vaginal bleeding after menopause.
  • Blood in the urine or stools.
  • Wear waterproof gloves or use another waterproof material when you give first aid for bleeding.

    Self-Care / First Aid

    For Severe Bleeding

  • Without delay, apply direct pressure to the wound using a sterile dressing or clean cloths. {Note: If the cut is large and the edges of it gape open, pinch the edges of the wound while you apply pressure.}
  • Call 9-1-1 or take the person to nearest hospital emergency department.
  • Do not remove an object that is stuck in a wound. Pack it in place with padding. Put tape around the padding so it doesn't move.
  • If bleeding continues before getting medical help, put extra cloths, etc. on top of existing ones. Keep putting pressure on the wound until bleeding stops or until medical help takes over.
  • The most important thing to do is to apply direct pressure on the bleeding site. Some health experts advise to do these things, too, if needed:
  • Elevate the wounded area higher than heart level while applying pressure. Do this if no bone is broken.
  • Apply pressure to a “pressure point” if bleeding still continues after 15 to 20 minutes of direct pressure, Use the pressure point closest to the bleeding site that is between the wound and the heart. (See Pressure Points at right.)
  • Don't apply a tourniquet except to save a life.
  • While giving first aid for bleeding, keep looking for signs of shock.
  • For an Amputation

  • Control bleeding. See First Aid for Severe Bleeding above.
  • Wrap the severed part in a clean, dry (not wet) cloth or sterile gauze. Place the wrapped part in a plastic bag or other waterproof container. Put these on a bed of ice. Do not submerge the severed part in cold water or ice.
  • For Bleeding from the Scalp

  • Use a ring pad to apply pressure around the edges of the wound, not on the wound. Make a ring pad (shaped like a doughnut) with a bandage of narrow, long strips of cloth. Start with one end of the narrow bandage and wrap it around all four fingers on one hand until you form a loop. Leave a long strip of the bandage material to weave in and around the loop so it doesn't unravel.
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