Severe bleeding causes a loss of blood usually of an irregular amount and may lead to weakness, unconsciousness and even death. Wounds must therefore be treated immediately, while other non-visible bleeding (especially those coming from other parts or openings of the body) must be referred to a physician or the nearest hospital. This might mean you or the victim is literally “bleeding from the inside” due to other injuries. In pregnant women, excessive bleeding may mean an early sign of miscarriage and may need to be brought to a doctor quickly.
- Blood discharge from a cut, puncture or wound.
- Bruising around certain areas.
- Weakness that may follow the loss of blood, low blood pressure, paleness and lightheaded feeling.
- Pain and or swelling in some areas.
- Discoloration in skin.
- Finding blood in excrement, saliva, coughed up with phlegm.
- Blood coming from other open parts of the body like the mouth, ear or genitalia (usually heavier than your usual period for women).
First Aid for Severe Bleeding
1. Monitor the patients lifeline
Follow DRABC and be prepared to give CPR if necessary.
2. Stop the bleeding
Remove the patients clothing as quickly and easily as possible by cutting or tearing off, so you can see the wound causing the blood loss. Use a sterile dressing (if available) otherwise a piece of clean fabric (e.g. A kitchen towel or a piece of clothing). Place this over the wound and apply direct pressure to stem the bleeding. Try to have the patient hold the dressing themselves. For deep wounds, try to squeeze the edges of the wound together.
If any foreign object is embedded in the wound, do NOT attempt to remove it. Apply pressure either side of the object and place a pad around it before applying bandages.
3. Raise and support the injured area
Lie the casualty down and raise the injured area above the level of their heart. This should slow or stop the bleeding. Handle the patient gently, especially if you suspect there may be other injuries (fractured bones, etc).
Try to prop the injury up on pillows for support. Aim to keep the casualty as comfortable as possible.
4. Bandage the wound
Apply a sterile pad against the wound and secure with a bandage. If bleeding has not yet stopped, apply a second pad and bandage. Do not remove the first pad from the wound site. If bleeding continues, you can replace the second pad until the bleeding stops.
5. Once bleeding is under control, call for medical assistance
6. Treat for shock
Continually monitor the patients ABC lifeline and ensure the bandages are not interfering with the patient’s circulation.
Keep the patient still and lying down. Put a blanket over them. Reassure and calm them whilst waiting for help to arrive.
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