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First Aid Tip: Bleeding

These first aid tips are no substitute for thorough knowledge of first aid.
Attend a
St John Ambulance First Aid Course.

Minor Cuts, Scratches & Grazes

Treatment

  • Wash and dry your own hands.
  • Cover any cuts on your own hands and put on disposable gloves.
  • Clean the cut, if dirty, under running water. Pat dry with a sterile dressing or clean lint-free material. If possible, raise affected area above the heart.
  • Cover the cut temporarily while you clean the surrounding skin with soap and water and pat the surrounding skin dry. Cover the cut completely with a sterile dressing or plaster.

Severe Bleeding

Treatment

  • Put on disposable gloves.
  • Apply direct pressure to the wound with a pad (e.g. a clean cloth) or fingers until a sterile dressing is available.

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  • Raise and support the injured limb. Take particular care if you suspect a bone has been broken.

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  • Lay the casualty down to treat for shock.

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  • Bandage the pad or dressing firmly to control bleeding, but not so tightly that it stops the circulation to fingers or toes. If bleeding seeps through first bandage, cover with a second bandage. If bleeding continues to seep through bandage, remove it and reapply.

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  • Treat for shock.

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  • Dial 112 for an ambulance.

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Remember: protect yourself from infection by wearing disposable gloves and covering any wounds on your hands.

  • If blood comes through the dressing do not remove it – bandage another over the original.
  • If blood seeps through both dressings, remove them both and replace with a fresh dressing, applying pressure over the site of bleeding.

Objects in Wounds

Where possible, swab or wash small objects out of the wound with clean water. If there is a large object embedded:

Treatment

  • Leave it in place.
  • Apply firm pressure on either side of the object.
  • Raise and support the wounded limb or part.
  • Lay the casualty down to treat for shock.
  • Gently cover the wound and object with a sterile dressing.
  • Build up padding around the object until the padding is higher than the object, then bandage over the object without pressing on it.
  • Depending on the severity of the bleeding, dial 112 for an ambulance or take the casualty to hospital.