A Doctor’s Guide: First Aid For Bleeding Injuries

Save lives by stopping blood loss with these simple life-saving procedures.

21 Feb 2023

Bleeding is common where the skin is traumatised. The wound can be a cut or a scratch, whether it is shallow or deep, it is crucial to stop bleeding. For deep cuts, it's best to apply first aid and then visit an emergency room as the patient may need stitches and other care.


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How To Stop Bleeding

1. Deep wound or injury

Before initiating any treatment, try to identify its severity. Check if the wound is deep or has a minor scratch. This will help in administering first aid at the earliest. If a person is bleeding profusely:

  • Elevate the affected area above the heart. This helps blood to reach vital organs.
  • Put direct pressure on the wound until assistance arrives.
  • Wash your hands before and after administering first aid by bandaging the wound.


Related story: Basic First Aid Procedures: Easy Steps Everyone Should Know


2. Cuts And Scratches

When there is a cut or a scratch on the skin, the blood vessels are damaged. However, bleeding profusely can cause your body to go into shock. You can’t always evaluate the gravity of an abrasion or wound by the amount it bleeds.

  • Wash the wound with saline to clear out debris or dirt.
  • Apply an antiseptic spray or medicine at the site of the injury to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Avoid touching the wound with bare hands, use medicated gloves instead.


3. Nicks And Pricks

Minor injuries such as nicks from shaving, graze from falling off of a bike or from friction with furniture edges, and prick from a needle can sometimes result in excessive bleeding.

  • Gently clean the wound with mild soap and water to remove any dirt.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to decrease the risk of infection.
  • A sterilised bandage or an antiseptic spray can be wrapped around cuts to heal injuries.


Related story: Heimlich Vs CPR: What to Do When Someone Chokes


4. Nosebleed

Nose bleeding is a common occurrence in both children and adults. It can happen due to lack of moisture in the air (winters and summers), someone with high blood pressure or hardening of the arteries too can experience this.

  • Make the person sit down and lean their head forward to keep blood from flowing down into the stomach, reduce pressure in the nasal veins and slow the bleeding.
  • Use a nasal spray in the bleeding nostril while the person holds their head still for 5-10 minutes.
  • Once the nose stops bleeding, suggest the person not to blow their nose for a few days to prevent recurring bleeding.


When To Approach A Doctor

  • If there’s internal bleeding or there’s an ingrained object at the site of the injury.
  • The injury shows signs of infection, such as redness, tenderness, or if the person has a fever after the incident.
  • The injury is related to an animal or human bite.
  • Consult a physician immediately for a nosebleed if bleeding does not stop after about 20 minutes, or if the nosebleed is a result of a fall or injury. The nose may have been broken or could be a sign of a grave issue.
  • If a wound is around the abdomen or chest area, call for medical help. It can be serious if internal bleeding has occurred and which might have damaged organs.


Related story: 13 First Aid Essentials You Must Have In Your Medical Kit


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The above article contains inputs from Dr. Roopshree S.P. MBBS, DNB,General Medicine, General Physician, Internal Medicine, Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Bengaluru.


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