Managing Bleeding Due to Cuts, Lacerations, and Wounds

Cuts, lacerations, wounds, and scrapes are some of the most common emergencies at home. Learning first aid for bleeding is essential for first aid situations.

Beneath the skin is a rich network of blood vessels, when the skin is scraped or cut, you begin to bleed. While bleeding serves the purpose of cleansing out the wound, too much bleeding poses health risks. Massive blood loss can cause shock. First aid for bleeding prevents potential complications arising from wounds, cuts and scrapes.

The amount of bleeding does not always indicate the severity of injury. In fact, some serious injuries can bleed very little. On the other hand, even minor cuts such as those on the face, head, and mouth may bleed a lot because of the rich network of blood vessels in these areas.

First aid for bleeding

For cuts and wounds:

  • For small cuts, flush it under running water and wash with soap. Do not do this for large wounds.
  • For cuts that are large or bleeding heavily, place the person on his back. Keep the person calm. If the wound is on an extremity (arm or leg), elevate the injured limb slightly above the level of the heart.
  • Remove foreign objects, such as grass or sticks. If the debris is embedded in the body, do not remove it.
  • For cuts with severe bleeding, wear gloves (if available) apply firm pressure to the wound with dressing/folded cloth/bandage for 5-10 minutes. Do not lift your hand to look at the wound, as it may bleed again. If the dressing becomes soaked with blood, apply another dressing and continue firm pressure on the wound.
  • Once bleeding is controlled, tape a clean bandage over the wound.
  • Seek medical care if: the wound is deep or jagged, the cut is on the face or head, the bleeding won’t stop, there is embedded debris or dirt, or the cut is a result of an animal bite.

Chest and abdominal wounds that result in damage to vital organs can be life-threatening. Usually, injuries to the chest and abdominal cavity do not have obvious bleeding. However, it can cause internal bleeding and shock. As such, chest and abdominal wounds are considered an emergency and requires immediate emergency care.

Managing BleedingBleeding accompanied by weakness, dizziness, cold and pale skin, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath indicate shock. While waiting for emergency services, give first aid for bleeding and shock. Place the person on his back and elevate the feet about 12 inches. Keep the body warm and continue to provide reassurance.

Take basic first aid training course and learn how to manage bleeding. Contact your local Red Cross chapter to inquire about their training schedules.