If you see a person bleeding heavily, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and wear gloves before administering first aid in order to prevent infection, if possible. For abdominal wounds and in cases, where organs may be displaced, it is ideal that you do not try to push these organs back into place as this would just exacerbate the condition. Cover the injured region with suitable dressing to reduce bleeding. It helps to receive first aid courses, especially on treating bleeding injuries and providing CPR, to be prepared for any such circumstances in the future.
For other cases that involve excessive bleeding, it helps to perform the following steps until medical personnel take over:
1. Allow the casualty to lie down and cover him with a blanket or sheet to prevent loss of heat from the body. Position the casualty’s head subtly lower than his trunk, if possible and elevate his legs and the injured region above heart level.
2. Remove any visible dirt or debris from the wound with gloves on. Avoid removing any large or deeply embedded objects from the wound as you are primarily focused on controlling the bleeding.
3. Apply direct pressure to the wound until bleeding stops. To do this, you may use sterile gauze or a clean cloth and hold it on the wound. Apply a continuous pressure for 20 minutes or more without removing the cloth to see is bleeding has reduced. Maintain this pressure by tightly binding the wound with a clean cloth or sterile bandage and use adhesive tape to fasten the bandage. If nothing is available, you can use your hands to stop the bleeding. It helps to wear rubber gloves or a plastic bag around the hands to prevent infection.
4. Do not remove the bandage or gauze. Even if the blood seeps through the bandage or material you are using to apply pressure to the wound, do not try to remove it. Place another layer of fabric or any absorbent material on top of the first material instead.
5. Squeeze a main artery, if needed. If bleeding is persistent, even with the application of direct pressure, you may have to apply pressure or squeeze the artery that is bringing blood to this area. For the arm, pressure points are located right above the elbow and below the armpit. For the leg, pressure points are behind the knee of the affected leg and in the groin. Squeeze the artery against the bone to prevent bleeding keeping your fingers flat. Use your other hand to apply pressure to the wound, do not discontinue direct pressure to the injury unless bleeding stops.
Here is a short YouTube video that will help you learn more on how to treat excessive bleeding.
6. Immobilize the injury after bleeding has stopped. Leave the bandages on the injury and take the casualty to the nearest hospital emergency room as quickly as possible.
If you suspect that there might be internal bleeding as well, call 911 or a local emergency number immediately.
Signs and symptoms of internal bleeding are:
• Bleeding from openings
• Coughing up or vomiting blood
• Wounds penetrating the skull, abdomen or chest
• Bruising on the chest, neck, side or abdomen
• Abdominal tenders – may be accompanied with rigidity of abdominal muscles
• Shock – signs include weakness, thirst, anxiety, cool skin