Handling Wounds and Severe Bleeding
What is a wound?
A wound is a break in the skin that allows blood to escape from the body (known as bleeding). Bleeding can be potentially serious as the fluid is lost from the circulatory system.
Bleeding is usually not that severe if it happens from the small vessels and capillaries. On the other hand, bleeding from the larger vessels, the arteries, and the veins is significantly life-threatening as the blood is lost at a faster pace.
Assessing the blood loss
- Blood loss from an artery is often bright red and if a major vessel is damaged, blood may come spurting out in synchronization with every heartbeat.
- Blood loss from a vein will be dark red and may gush out profusely if a large vein is damaged.
- If the nerves and tendons that run close to the blood vessels are damaged, then the casualty might experience loss of movement or feeling.
- If signs of shock appear (shock indicates diminished supply of blood to the organs), call the emergency services immediately.
Note: Regularly check the casualty’s level of consciousness, breathing, and pulse until the emergency help arrives.
Step 1: Apply Direct Pressure
Place a clean pad or the sterile wound dressing against the wound and press firmly. Remove or cut the clothing to expose the wound if necessary.
Step 2: Raise and Support Injury
Raise the injured part so that it is higher than the casualty’s heart. This will slow down the blood flow to the area.
Step 3: Treat for Shock
Help the casualty to lie down while keeping the injured area raised and supported. Raise and support the casualty’s legs above the level of the heart on a chair. This reduces the risk of a shock. Keep the legs straight and rest her ankles or heels on the chair to prevent blood pooling in the legs.
Step 4: Apply Bandage
Tie a bandage around the dressing. Support an arm in a sling for extra support.
Call the emergency services
If blood seeps through the dressing, cover it with another one, secured with a second bandage, then you may not be applying pressure at the right point. Take off both dressings and apply a new one.
- Always wear non-latex disposable gloves to protect yourself and the casualty from infections.
- Always seek medical attention if a person is taking blood-thinning medication as even a minor injury will bleed profusely.
- If the casualty becomes unconscious, open the airway and check the breathing. Be prepared to begin CPR.
WOUND ON PALM
Step 1: Cover the wound with a dressing pad
Place a large sterile dressing pad in the palm of the casualty’s hand, preferably with a bandage attached. Ask the casualty to clinch the fist tightly over the pad to apply pressure. Raise and support the hand.
Step 2: Secure Dressing
Wind the bandage around the casualty’s clenched fist, leaving the thumb exposed. Secure the bandage over the top of the fingers to maintain pressure. Check the circulation in the thumb.
WOUND ON INNER ELBOW OR BACK KNEE
Step 1: Bend Arm or Leg
Place a sterile dressing pad over the injury and bend the arm or leg over it to apply pressure. Raise the injured part to slow down the blood flow further.
Step 2: Check Circulation
As raising the affected limb and applying pressure over the wound can severely reduce blood supply to the rest of the limb, check the circulation in the lower arm or leg every 10 minutes, releasing pressure intermittently (if necessary).
Note: Do not give the casualty anything to eat or drink as he may need an anesthetic later.
Some minute details are different for wounds on different body parts. Replicating the same steps in the exact manner (whenever required) can always help to cut down the extent of the injury and also help save a life in extreme circumstances.