How do I deal with bleeding wounds?

Sit - Examine - Pressure

Wounds can be very minor or they can be very serious. With any wound please protect yourself from further harm and cross infection and wear gloves. Use the following principles to help you assess the severity of the bleed:

  • Sit or lay the casualty down
  • Examine the wound:
    • have a  look at the bleed,
    • what sort of blood flow is there?
    • does it squirt (may be arterial)?
    • does it steadily flow (may be venous)?
    • does it well up / form a small drip - (could be capillary)?
    • how much blood loss is there?
    • is there anything embedded in it (like bones or glass etc)?
  • Pressure- apply direct pressure over the wound to stem the flow of blood.

Most small grazes and cuts can be cleaned with running water and a suitable dressing such as plaster applied. Ensure the casualty isn’t allergic to the plasters.

For more serious wounds wounds, or those too big to cover with plasters, you will need to use dressings. These should be sterile and in date. Choose a dressing that’s large enough to cover the wound, with a reasonable sized margin around the edge. The key to putting it on properly is to hold it firmly in one hand and to gently unwrap it with the other. Make sure the dressing is firm but not too tight. You can check whether you have applied it too tightly by testing for capillary refill.  For severe cuts, you may need to seek further medical advice.

Splinters can be removed gently with tweezers, then squeeze the wound to make it bleed in order to flush out any remaining dirt, before washing with cold water.

Check to see if the person has an up to date tetanus vaccination

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