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First Aid basics: “Dealing with bleeding”

July 10, 2012

If you cut yourself (break in the skin) and start bleeding, the first thing you need to do is:

Apply pressure onto the wound to stop or slow down the flow of blood. (The pressure will help the blood to actually form a clot or “plug” and stop the bleeding. This could take 5, 10 or even 15 minutes.)

You do not need to use something specific to do this; it can just be your hand; a t-shirt or a towel. Dressing pads from a first aid kit are a good option. Anything that could be put over the wound to stop or slow downs the flow of blood. (Avoid cotton wool as often the pieces separate from the bundle and get stuck in the wound.)

If the bleeding does not stop, get to a hospital and have the wound treated. Keep pressure on the wound until then.

If the blood soaks through the item you have used, do not remove it, but add more items and maintain pressure.

Keep in mind:

  • DO NOT wash a wound that is bleeding heavily, as you will actually wash away the “plug”/ clotting agents and make it bleed more.
  • If there is an embedded object in the wound, DO NOT remove it. You may not believe it, but it is actually helping to plug the wound. Therefore removing it, may make the bleeding worse. Rather apply pressure around the object.

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