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How to stop a bleed

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This month’s musings are all about bleeding. I am not talking about a little scratch but a bigger bleed that happens, unfortunately, all the time with kids when they are running around having fun, teenagers are messing about or adults just do something without thinking!

What do I do if someone if bleeding heavily?

  • So first things first, make sure you don’t get into danger trying to help them as two people hurt is double the trouble.
  • Put on your sterile gloves and ask the casualty if you can look at the wound for them. (If they say no, try to comfort and reassure them so they let you help them or get them to help themselves with bandages if they can.)
  • Put PRESSURE on the wound with a sterile dressing and bandage to help slow down the loss of blood and help the blood clotting process. Tie the bandage tightly around the wounded area and tie it off in a bow or knot at the end. Be careful not to tie it so tightly otherwise this will stop blood circulation to the lower part of the limb.
  • Next you need to ELEVATE (or raise up) the area that is bleeding into the air. This is to stop blood going to the injured area and therefore help the clotting process.
  • Finally you need to SUPPORT the injured area. For example if you have injured your forearm, rest the hand of your injured arm on your shoulder and support the elbow of your injured arm with your other hand.

If the bleed is big and you are worried that you can’t stop the bleeding call 999 as soon as possible. If it is small, but you think it is likely to require some stitches find a way of getting them to hospital such as a taxi, train or bus to have it looked at.

What happens if it carries on bleeding?

If, after putting pressure on the wound, blood is still coming through put another bandage on top of your original bandage to put more pressure on the bleed. If blood still keeps coming through take both bandages off and start again as the pressure from the third bandage won’t have an effect with the other two underneath.

What do I do if there is something in the wound?

The big rule with bleeds and objects in them is don’t take it out. The minute you take an object out of the bleed the wound will start to bleed more as you will have made a bigger hole for it to come out of! Instead, follow the Pressure, Elevate and Support principles above but:

  • Put a bandage either side of the object to prevent it from moving and to add pressure to stop the bleed.
  • If these bandages do not reach the height of the object put two more on top. Once you have reached the height of the bandages put a dressing over the top and wrap a bandage around the whole wound and object to keep everything securely in place.
  • If you are unable to make the bandages reach the top of the object then just wrap a dressing and bandage around the object and bandages so everything is securely in place.
  • Make sure you do not put any pressure on the object as this will hurt, could push it in deeper and make things worse.

Remember, if someone you are with has gets ‘stuck’ on something i.e. a fence, persuade them not to get off and instead call an ambulance and get them to come to you.

What do I do if the person shows signs of shock?

If someone starts to look pale, go clammy, have a rapid and weak pulse, breath very quickly but shallowly, they could be going into shock. If this happens you need to lie the casualty down on the ground and raise their legs to help the blood flow to the heart and the brain. Shock can be very serious so if you think the casualty is going into shock and you are worried about their breathing call 999.

What do I do if I don’t have a First Aid kit with me?

If someone is bleeding heavily they will need your help quickly so you will need to use whatever you have with you to stop the bleed. It is of course best to use something clean and sterile but if you don’t have anything like this available you could use a scarf, t-shirt, jumper, socks, coat to help. The big thing to think about is not to use anything that is sticky or that dissolves i.e. toilet roll or tissues.

If you want to see a visual on how to stop a bleed then check out my Facebook page @anderssonfirstaidtraining where you can see a video of me showing you exactly what to do!

If you would like to get more information on first aid principles, learn some interesting first aid facts and maybe test yourself on your own first aid knowledge then sign up to my monthly email newsletter using this link below:

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