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One of the most frequent outcomes of injuries that you or another person may experience is bleeding. Whether you cut yourself on a jagged rock while hiking or you’ve been in a vehicle accident, severe bleeding can be scary and dangerous. Therefore, understanding how to control bleeding is crucial in order to prevent excessive blood loss, which could lead to shock or even death.
It’s crucial to bear in mind that if you lose 40% of your body’s blood or fluid supply, you risk dying. While you may not have a medical degree, there are some steps you can take to stop the bleeding and prevent further complications. Here are some of the first aid basics you must know when dealing with severe bleeding:
1. Assess The Situation
When you’re experiencing heavy bleeding during an accident, the first thing you need to do is to assess your situation. Are you able to move? Do you need help? Are you in danger of being hit by traffic? Who are you going to call?
If you see someone who’s bleeding heavily, keep in mind that they’re at risk of going into shock. So here are some of the signs you need to look out for while waiting for help to arrive:
- Cold And Clammy Skin: If the person’s skin suddenly feels cold and clammy to the touch, it could be a sign that they’re in shock.
- Rapid Breathing And Pulse: A person experiencing blood loss will breathe faster, and their heart rate will increase to compensate for the drop in blood volume.
- Confusion Or Disorientation. This can occur if there’s insufficient oxygen reaching the brain, which is what happens when someone goes into shock from blood loss.
- Anxiety Or Restlessness: If the person falls asleep but becomes restless and anxious out of the blue, this may be a sign that they’re experiencing shock due to excessive bleeding.
In the event that a family member experiences serious bleeding, being prepared for any situation is typically better. Although it’s always advisable to wait for assistance, it would be wise to keep a first aid kit with all the supplies you’ll need to control the bleeding. It could include a pair of gloves, a tourniquet, and a dressing for bleeding management.
2. Put Direct Pressure To the Wound
If you have a severe injury and the bleeding is uncontrollable, try to apply direct pressure to the wound. This is one of the most important things you can do to stop the bleeding. Remember that direct pressure works best when applied to wounds on flat surfaces, such as your arms or legs. Since the blood veins in your torso are deeper and more difficult to access, applying pressure to the wounds in that area may not work effectively.
You can apply direct pressure with your hand or an object, such as a clean cloth or bandage. Keep applying pressure until the area where the wounds become firm and slightly numb. This should stop the bleeding within five minutes. If it doesn’t work, continue to apply pressure until help arrives.
As an alternative, you might apply a tourniquet two to four inches above the area of the wounded limb. You can continue reading here to know more about this process.
3. Elevate The Wound Above The Heart Level
Depending on where you’re bleeding, you may elevate the wound above your heart to stop blood flow. This is a very effective first aid measure.
This works because gravity will help slow down the flow of blood from your wound. As long as you have elevation, gravity will cause the blood to pool in your lower extremities, which means you will lose less blood.
4. Seek Medical Help
If you’re experiencing heavy bleeding, seek medical help immediately. Heavy bleeding is characterized by blood loss that cannot be stopped by pressure or when the blood flow keeps returning after applying pressure. It can be frightening and disorienting, but it’s important to remember that this type of bleeding is almost always treatable.
If you’re bleeding heavily, try to stay calm and consider what you can do to control the bleeding as you wait for medical assistance. Don’t drive yourself to the hospital unless you have no other option. Remember that it’s always ideal to have someone else take you to the hospital in case of an emergency.
The most essential thing to remember when dealing with severe bleeding is that it’s okay to be scared. When you have serious bleeding for the first time, it might be frightening since you may not know what to do. The good news is that you can use some simple first aid techniques to stop the bleeding and keep yourself safe until you get to the hospital.
If you or someone you know has suffered from severe bleeding and has been trained in proper first aid techniques, you can share this information with them.