How Do I Give First Aid for Bleeding?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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The first step of first aid for bleeding involves stopping the bleeding, no mater how severe the injury. Direct pressure should be applied to the wound, preferably with the use of a gauze pad or clean towel. If this does not cause the bleeding to stop, the person should be instructed to lie down so that the nearest pressure point can be compressed. The affected area of the body is usually elevated, as long as a fracture is not suspected. In the case of a severe injury, an important step in first aid for bleeding involves calling for emergency help. Steps should be taken to keep the patient from going into shock before the ambulance arrives, including the use of resuscitation efforts if needed.

The most important part of first aid for bleeding is to make the bleeding stop, as excessive bleeding can cause serious health problems or even death. Direct pressure must be applied to the wound because the blood cannot clot as long as it is still flowing. If possible, sterile gauze or a clean towel should be placed between the wound and the hand of the caregiver. A bare hand can be used if these items are not readily available.


Minor wounds should be carefully cleaned with soap and water after the bleeding has stopped. Antibiotic ointment is then applied to help prevent infection, and a bandage is used to cover the wound. Severe injuries require more involved first aid for bleeding efforts.

When direct pressure is not enough to stop the bleeding, the patient should be asked to lie down so that other treatment methods can be implemented. In these situations, first aid for bleeding involves the compression of pressure points in addition to direct pressure on the wound itself. Pressure points for the arms and hands are located on the inside portion of the wrist and upper arm. If the wound is located on the leg, the pressure point is found in the groin area.

If a fracture is suspected, the patient should not be moved before emergency personnel arrive. When there is no chance of a broken bone, the affected area should be elevated in order to prevent the development of potentially fatal blood clots. A blanket can be used to keep the injured person warm while waiting for help to arrive. CPR or rescue breathing should be used if necessary, and the victim's head should be turned to the side in the case of vomiting to prevent choking.


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