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Excessive bleeding can be scary and the consequences of not being able to control bleeding can lead to shock or death in some cases. However, understanding all of the tips and tricks will help most people control bleeding that is severe, and easily control small amounts of blood. The first aid methods used to control bleeding differ greatly because they are heavily dependent on the type of injury and which part of the body the injury is located.
Injuries can produce three different kinds of bleeding. Capillary bleeding occurs when a minor scrape or cut breaks open capillaries on the surface of the skin. They are the smallest blood vessels in the human body, and capillaries do not produce a lot of blood when they are broken. Controlling capillary bleeding usually requires cleaning the wound and wiping the blood away. The body’s natural blood clotting mechanism should stop the bleeding in a few minutes.
The second kind of bleeding is venous bleeding, which occurs when a vein is cut open. Deep cuts usually produce venous bleeding which can be identified by slowly flowing dark red blood. The best way to stop venous bleeding is by applying direct pressure to the wound with some sterile gauze or a clean terrycloth rag. Special gauze that helps stop bleeding because it turns to gel when it becomes wet with blood can also be used if it is available.
Arterial bleeding is the final and most dangerous type of bleeding. When an artery is severed it produces heavy flowing bright red blood which will sometimes spurt out every time the heart beats to pump more blood. Direct pressure must be applied to the wound to control bleeding. Unstopped severe arterial bleeding can cause death in less than five minutes.
Regardless of the type of injury, the wound should be elevated whenever possible to reduce blood loss. In addition, the cloth or gauze used to apply pressure to a severe wound should not be removed until the bleeding has completely stopped. When it is removed, it must be done with care to avoid reopening the wound. If the cloth becomes soaked, it is best to add another piece over the top and continue to apply pressure.
Nosebleeds are typically caused by broken blood vessels in the septum. In order to stop nosebleeds the person must sit or stand upright and pinch his nose for five to ten minutes. If the bleeding does not stop, it is necessary to seek medical attention. Similarly, excess bleeding which cannot be controlled and any type of head trauma requires medical attention as soon as possible.