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First aid treatments for bleeding

An accident occurred recently close to where I live. A car had rammed into a truck, the twisted metal and broken glasses cutting into the bodies of the survivors. Some passersby had been able to rescue the victims but in the confusion before a vehicle had been provided to take them to a hospital, they had died from loss of blood. A lot of people can faint at the sight of blood and even the smell makes people queasy.  But what if you’re in a situation where someone is bleeding out and medical help cannot get there immediately? What do you do at that point?

I decided to do some research into the first aid treatments for bleeding so we could all learn what to do in the event we are called upon to play doctor and save a life.

First thing to do would be to pull yourself together, there is no need to act hysterical or pass out.

There are two types of bleeding, external and internal bleeding. They pose different problems therefore they are treated differently.

External bleeding:

As the name implies. It’s a skin cut. You can see the blood in the wound because it’s an “outside cut”.

The following are the steps to take when providing First aid for external bleeding.

  • Apply pressure directly: place a folded cloth (ensure it is clean) over the injured area and firmly apply pressure to the injury. Do not remove the cloth even if blood soaks through but rather cover the cloth with another (clean, dry) one and continue to apply pressure to the wound for 7-10 minutes.
  • Elevate the injury: if it is possible, position the wounded part of the body above the heart while applying pressure. E.g if it is a hand or a leg, try and lift that part of the body so it is positioned above the heart. This will help to reduce blood flow to the injured area and reduce the incidence of blood loss.
  • Identify the pressure points: large arteries found close to the skin surface supply blood to the head and to each arm and leg. The most common pressure points are found in the upper arm and in the creases above the upper legs. If applying direct pressure and elevating the wound does not sufficiently stop the bleeding, apply pressure to the pressure point so that the artery is pressed between your fingers and the bone directly behind the artery. You might need to use the heel of your hand instead of fingers when it’s the pressure point of the leg. This also serves to reduce the amount of blood flowing to the injured area.

    The white arrow indicates a pressure point

  • Use a tourniquet: a tourniquet is a strip of cloth that you tie tightly round an injured arm or leg in other to stop it bleeding. When all the above fails, this might be your last resort to save a life. It should be used only when the above listed have failed. Once you apply a tourniquet, it should not be removed or loosened till you get medical help. And ensure to take note of when you applied the tourniquet because you’ll need to tell the medical personnel.

Internal bleeding:

Bleeding is deadly, but internal bleeding is the deadliest kind. It usually can’t be seen, so sometimes it goes undetected till it’s too late.

Internal bleeding results when blood vessels rupture below the skin, allowing blood to leak into body cavities. It is usually as a result of a direct blow to the body, fracture, sprain or a bleeding ulcer.

Symptoms of internal bleeding are:

Swollen area shows signs of internal bleeding

  • Pain and tenderness, swelling or bruising of the affected area
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Pale face and lips
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Thirstiness
  • Rapid, weak, irregular pulse
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weakness or fainting.

The more symptoms experienced, the more severe the internal bleeding is.

First aid for internal bleeding:

  • Call for medical help IMMEDIATELY! And keep the victim comfortable until help arrives
  • Check for an open airway and begin rescue breathing if necessary
  • DO NOT give a victim of internal bleeding anything to drink, no matter how thirsty he is, he might rinse his mouth with water, but he isn’t allowed to swallow it.

N.B:  No matter the form of bleeding, remember to always seek medical help no matter how “under-control” you think the situation is.


I am, @Lord__Nina

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