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Questions and answers about bleeding heavily

Here are some questions people often ask. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to email us at firstaid@redcross.org.uk or use this form.

Q

What can I use to put pressure on the wound?

Answer
Answer

Use anything available to you – it doesn’t need to be dressing pads from a first aid kit. You can use your hand, their hand, a t-shirt, a tea towel – anything that can be put over the wound to stop or slow down the flow of blood.

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Q

What do I do if the bleeding soaks through the item I've used?

Answer
Answer

Do not remove it but add more items (like t-shirts and tea towels) and maintain firm pressure. Call 999 as soon as possible, or get someone else to do it.

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Q

The person looks pale and feels cold and dizzy. What does this mean?

Answer
Answer

This means there isn’t enough blood flowing through the body. It can be life threatening because it can very quickly lead to other conditions, such as lack of oxygen in the body’s tissues, heart attack or organ damage. This physical response to an injury or illness is called shock.

If you suspect someone is going into shock, continue to apply pressure to the wound to stop the blood coming out. Lie them down and lift their feet higher than the rest of their body. The legs are higher than the heart in this position, which helps increase blood flow to their brain and heart.  Call 999 if you haven’t already done so. You should also wrap them in a blanket to keep them warm.

 

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Q

Should I worry about infection or catching something from their blood?

Answer
Answer

If you are worried about infection and want to use a barrier, you can use a plastic bag or plastic gloves, or get them to use their own hand to put pressure on the wound.

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Q

Should I wash the wound?

Answer
Answer

For minor cuts and grazes, you can wash the wound to remove any dirt. Don't wash a wound that is bleeding heavily. If you put a heavily bleeding wound under a tap, you will wash away all the clotting agents and make it bleed more.

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Q

What should I do if there is an embedded object in the wound?

Answer
Answer

Do not remove it – it's helping plug the hole and stop the blood flow. Instead, simply apply pressure around the object. Removing the object from the wound can make the bleeding much worse.

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Answer

Pinch the soft part at the front of their nose (or get them to) and ask them to lean forward and breathe through their mouth. Pinching the nose helps the blood to clot.

Don’t ask them to lean back, even though it may seem like the right thing to do. The blood could get into the windpipe and block their airway, or it could go into their stomach and may cause the person to vomit.

If bleeding persists, call 999 or get someone else to do it.

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