Severe Bleeding: Basic First Aid Treatment

Picture of Severe Bleeding


Severe Bleeding Definition

Bleeding is the loss of blood. Bleeding may be:

  • Inside the body (internally)
  • Outside the body (externally)

Bleeding may occur:

  • Inside the body when blood leaks from blood vessels or organs
  • Outside the body when blood flows through a natural opening (such as the vagina, mouth, or rectum)
  • Outside the body when blood moves through a break in the skin

When bleeding is severe, it can be dramatic and distressing. If someone’s bleeding isn’t controlled quickly, they may develop shock and lose consciousness. Shock does not mean emotional shock, but is a life-threatening condition, often caused by loss of blood.

If someone’s bleeding from their mouth or nose, they may find it hard to breathe, so you should keep a close eye on them in case they become unconscious.

Picture of Severe Bleeding

If there’s an object in their wound, don’t press directly onto it, as it will hurt, but leave it in there and bandage around it.

With all open wounds, there’s a risk of infection, so wash your hands and use gloves (if you have any) to help prevent any infection passing between you both.

Severe Bleeding During Period

Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, or menorrhagia, are the most common type of abnormal bleeding from the uterus. Periods are considered heavy if there is enough blood to soak a pad or tampon every hour for several consecutive hours.

Other symptoms of a heavy period can include:

  • Nighttime bleeding that requires getting up to change pads or tampons
  • Passing large blood clots during menstruation
  • A period that lasts longer than seven days

Severe Bleeding During Period

In severe cases, heavy menstruation can interfere with sleep and daily activities. Blood loss from heavy periods can also lead to anemia, causing symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath.

Severe Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums can be a sign that you have or are at risk for gum disease. Ongoing gum bleeding may be due to serious medical conditions such as leukemia and bleeding and platelet disorders.

Severe Bleeding Gums

When you think about dental health, the focus is likely to be on preventing cavities in your teeth. But it’s important to pay attention to your gums, too. Gums play a major role not only in your dental health, but in your overall well-being.

In many instances, swollen and bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. However, there are a number of other things that could be causing your gum problems. Whatever the cause of sore, painful gums, there are steps you can take to minimize gum damage and discomfort.

Treatment for Severe Bleeding

Wash hands well

  • Wash hands well before administering to patient
  • Wear synthetic gloves
  • Make the victim lie down
  • Slightly elevate the legs
  • If possible keep the affected area elevated
  • Remove any obvious debris/particle
  • Apply direct pressure using clean cloth/bandage
  • Use hand if cloth is not available
  • Apply pressure continuously for at least 20 minutes
  • Do not remove the cloth to check the bleeding
  • Hold the bandage in place using an adhesive tape
  • If bleeding seeps through bandage, do not remove it
  • Add extra bandage on top of the first one
  • Apply direct pressure on the artery if necessary
  • The pressure points for arm–below arm- pit/above elbow
  • For leg–behind knee/near groin
  • Squeeze the artery keeping finger flat
  • Continue applying pressure on the wound
  • Once bleeding stops immobilize the affected part
  • See a doctor

First Aid for Severe Bleeding

For severe bleeding, take these actions immediately:

Stop the bleeding

  1. Remove any obvious dirt or debris from the wound.Don’t remove large or deeply embedded objects. Don’t probe the wound or attempt to clean it yet. Your first job is to stop the bleeding. Wear disposable protective gloves if available.
  2. Stop the bleeding. Place a sterile bandage or clean cloth on the wound. Press the bandage firmly with your palm to control bleeding. Maintain pressure by binding the wound tightly with a bandage or a piece of clean cloth. Secure with adhesive tape. Use your hands if nothing else is available.Raise the injured part above the level of the heart.

    Special cases:

    • Don’t put direct pressure on an eye injury or embedded object.
    • Don’t reposition or put pressure on displaced organs. Cover the wound with a clean dressing.
  3. Help the injured person lie down, preferably on a rug or blanket to prevent loss of body heat. If possible, elevate the legs.
  4. Don’t remove the gauze or bandage. If the bleeding seeps through the gauze or other cloth on the wound, add another bandage on top of it. And keep pressing firmly on the area.Tourniquets: A tourniquet is effective in controlling life-threatening bleeding from a limb. Apply a tourniquet if you’re trained in how to do so. When emergency help arrives, explain how long the tourniquet has been in place.
  5. Immobilize the injured body part once the bleeding has stopped. Leave the bandages in place and get the injured person to the emergency room as soon as possible.Call 911 or your local emergency number if the bleeding is the result of major trauma or injury. Also call for emergency help if you suspect internal bleeding. Signs of internal bleeding include:
    • Bleeding from a body opening, such as the ear, mouth, nose or anus
    • Vomiting or coughing up blood
    • Bruising
    • A tender or swollen stomach
    • Cold, clammy skin
    • Thirst
    • Fractures
    • Shock, indicated by a rapid, weak pulse, pallor, sweating, rapid breathing and decreased alertness