If someone is bleeding, the biggest challenge is NOT to freak out.
Many people react to the sight of blood and some panic if they see a lot of blood coming out of a wound or injury. But try to keep things in perspective.
First off, you can lose what seems to be a lot of blood and still be OK. Imagine a 500
ml bottle of water being splashed all over the place. Now imagine that water was blood! It would seem like a lot. But in fact, that’s about the amount of blood they take when you donate at the Red Cross. And you get up 15 minutes later and walk away totally OK. (Your body replaces ALL that blood within 1-2 days.)
So, if someone is bleeding, the first action is to apply DIRECT pressure on top of the wound or cut with a clean cloth, tissues, paper towels, bandages or piece of gauze. Keep pressing until the bleeding stops.
If the blood soaks through this material, don’t try to remove it. Leave it in place and put more cloth, bandage, tissue or gauze on top of it and continue to apply pressure. You are trying to help the body’s natural clotting mechanisms which are working to try and stem the loss of blood.
If the injury is on an arm or leg, try to position the person so you can raise their limb above their heart. This will slow the rate of bleeding.
After 10 minutes of firm and steady pressure on the wound, if the bleeding can’t be stopped it’s time to call 000 if you haven’t already done so. In an emergency situation like this, where a wound won’t stop bleeding you can use a tourniquet, while you wait for help, but don’t make it too tight.
Once the bleeding has stopped, do what you can to clean up around the wound and the general area, but without removing the wound dressing which could start the bleeding again.
Wash your hands if you are going to clean and dress the wound properly. If you have antiseptic or antibiotic cream, apply that and dress with a sterile dressing. Don’t use Hydrogen Peroxide or Iodine to clean the wound as they can cause tissue damage.
Advise the person to clean and dry the wound daily and change the dressing to prevent infection and to speed healing.
Tell them to monitor the wound and if it shows signs of infection, redness, tenderness or develops a thick discharge, they should see their doctor. If they develop a fever, or the area around the womb feels numb or red streaks form around it, this is also another sign they should see a doctor.
Of course, if you come across someone with very severe bleeding or blood spurting out of a wound, call 000 immediately and attempt to stem the flow using pressure as above. Also call an ambulance if the person has a severe abdominal or chest wound, or you suspect internal bleeding.