What you should do when bleeding

Blood loss is frightening and dangerous. Direct pressure stops external bleeding. Since external bleeding can also be life threatening, you must be aware of the warning signs.

First aid for an open wound:

  1. Apply direct pressure over the site of the wound. Cover the entire wound.
  2. Use sterile gauze, a sanitary napkin, a clean towel, sheet, or handkerchief or, if necessary, you washed bare hand. Ice or cold water in a pad will held stop bleeding and decrease swelling.
  3. Apply firm, steady pressure for five to fifteen minutes. Most wounds stop bleeding within a few minutes.
  4. If the wound is on a foot, hand, leg, or arm, use gravity to help slow the flow of blood. Elevate the limb so that it is higher than the victim’s hearts.
  5. If the bleeding doesn't stop, press harder.
  6. Seek medical attention if the bleeding was caused by a serious injury, if stitches will be needed to keep the wound closed, or if the victim has not had a tetanus booster within the last ten years.

First aid for internal bleeding:

  1. Suspect internal bleeding if a person coughs up blood, vomits red or brown material that looks like coffee grounds, passes blood in urine or stool, or has black, tar like bowel movements.
  2. Do not let the victim take any medication or fluids by mouth until seen by a doctor, because surgery may be necessary.
  3. Have the victim lie flat. Cover him or her lightly.
  4. Seek immediate medical attention.

First aid for a bloody nose:

  1. Have the victim sit down, leaning slightly forward so the blood does not run down his or her throat. The person should spit out any blood in his or her mouth.
  2. Use the thumb and forefingers to pinch the nose. If the victim can do the pinching, apply a cold compress to the nose and surrounding area.
  3. Apply pressure for ten minutes without interruption.
  4. If pinching does not work, gently pack the nostril with gauze or a clean strip of cloth. Do not use absorbent cotton, which will stick. Let the ends hang out so you can remove the packing easily later. Pinch the nose with the packing in place, for five minutes.
  5. If a foreign object is in the nose, do not attempt to remove it. Ask the person to blow gently. If that does not work, seek medical attention.
  6. The nose should not be blown or irritated for several hours after a nose-bleeding stops.
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