First Aid Care for Bleeding


First Aid Care for Bleeding

Bleeding from any part of the body is called hemorrhage. Hemorrhage is the flow of blood from an artery, vein or capillary. It is usually caused by injury, or occasionally by an illness which affects blood vessels, such as cancerous growth. 

In this post, you will be exposed to different methods of arresting bleeding. You will also be exposed to how you can manage nose bleeding, shock and poisoning.

This post will enable to describe the different methods of arresting bleeding, explain how to manage nose bleeding, shock and poisoning, describe how to apply pressure to wound and state how to use tourniquet to stop bleeding.


First Aid Actions When there is Bleeding (Hemorrhage)

First Aid Care for Bleeding

When a person has a cut in an accident, bleeding results due to pressure inside the blood vessels.

There are three different types of bleeding:

(i) Arterial

(ii) Venous

(iii) Capillary.

Arterial Bleeding: Blood in the arteries is normal fully oxygenated and bright red. It has just come from the heart, so it is under severe pressure and spurts from a wound in time due to force heartbeats that accompany the flow of blood.

Venous bleeding: It is normally darker red because it contains less oxygen; venous blood flows at a lower pressure than arterial blood and will not spurt. It could gush out if a major vein ruptures. This bleeding is not severe as arterial type.

Capillary bleeding: It has both arterial and venous bleeding types. Capillary is most common, present in any wound and maybe the only type in the minor wound where blood oozes from the wound.


Controlling Blood Loss

The ways to prevent blood loss are:

(i) Direct pressure and

(ii) Indirect pressure.

Direct pressure: It entails exerting pressure on the wound with the thumb and/or fingers. If the wound is big, squeeze the sides of the wounds together gently but firmly and maintain pressure. This method flattens the blood vessels in the area affected. It also helps to slow down the flow of blood to enhance clothing. Pressure should be exerted for 5-15 minutes. This is because it takes time to halt the flow of blood.

Indirect pressure: This control measure is good for arterial bleeding. The pressure point is the place to apply pressure. This method prevents the flow of blood beyond the point of the wound.


Method of Control Bleeding

i. Apply direct pressure on the wound with the thumb and or fingers.

ii. Lay the casualty down in a suitable and comfortable position.

iii. Raise the injured part as far as possible and lend support on the site of the wound.

iv. Place a sterile medicated dressing over the wound making sure it extends well beyond the edges of the wound.

v. Press the dressing down firmly and secure with bondage tied firmly enough to control bleeding but not so tight as to stop circulation.

vi. If bleeding persists, apply more pads and bandages firmly.

Methods to Arrest Bleeding

Hemorrhage may be of primary or secondary type. Primary hemorrhage refers to any bleeding which occurs as the immediate result of an accident or begins suddenly during the course of an illness. 

On the other hand, secondary hemorrhage sets in some time after the original accident and may indicate the onset of complications.

Any of the two can kill within a few minutes, particularly if the bleeding is profuse. It is important to note that bleeding may be either external or internal.

Bleeding can be arrested in four ways, namely

1. Natural arrest of bleeding

2. Direct Pressure

3. Pressure on Arteries

4. Applying a Tourniquet.

It should be emphasized that the immediate effects of bleeding are those of shock due to brain anaemia. How to treat shock should therefore be known too.


Natural Ways to Arrest Bleeding

Nature adopts three ways of attempting to arrest bleeding whenever blood vessels are injured. Such natural processes include clotting, contraction of the damaged blood vessels, and reduced circulation due to weakened heartbeat and reduced blood flow.

Sometimes nature succeeds in effecting a fairly quick arrest of bleeding which may later lead to perfect natural repair. The severity of the injury, the health and fitness status of the victim; are the major influencing factors in the repair process.


Stopping Bleeding Through Direct Pressure

To apply pressure to arrest bleeding in an area or a single point; the first aider should:

a. Press where there is bleeding (i.e. directly on wound)

b. Press hard enough to stop the bleeding. 

In severe hemorrhage, pressure must be applied by whatever material available (e.g., finger, clenched fist, handkerchief or pad), clean or otherwise, to save life first. The arguments that such measures will cause infection and that direct pressure on a wound is painful are Secondary.

c. Do not remove the material, as it may disrupt the clotting process rather more materials should be added to the wound

d. Elevate the bleeding part above the level of the victim's heart, if there are no signs of fracture. The wound should be kept stationary if a fracture is present.

e. In non-severe bleeding or if the bleeding begins to decrease, the injured part (wound) should be washed with water and soap and a clean pad should be applied and a sterile bandage used to dress (bandage) the wound. A blood clot formed on a wound should never be disturbed.

f. A physician should be contacted, in severe bleeding. Direct pressure is always the best.


Arresting Bleeding through Pressure on Arteries

If bright red blood spurts from a wound it means an artery is damaged. Slow darker red blood means a vein is affected and the loss of blood will be slower.

Both need to be dealt with rapidly. 

In excess bleeding, the first aider should:

a. Locate the pressure point which links up the wounded area

b. Press firmly at the pressure point to cut-off blood blow to the wounded area

c. Elevate the bleeding part above the level of the casualty's heart, if a fracture is not suspected

d. Contact a physician or send for an ambulance.


Applying a Tourniquet to Arrest Bleeding

A tourniquet should be used only to control bleeding from serious injuries, such as the accidental amputation of a hand or foot.

In other cases, the use of a tourniquet should be avoided because it can cause infection (tissue death). It may also damage uninjured nerves and blood vessels. 

Therefore, tourniquets should be applied when all other means of controlling Hemorrhage have failed, and it becomes apparent that (the victim will die unless the bleeding is stopped).


Applying Tourniquet to stop blood loss

A first aider should use tourniquets as follows:

1. A cloth, handkerchief or similar material should be folded and tied loosely above the wound.

2. The ends of the material should be knotted together

3. A stick may be used to twist the material tightly

4. A small round stone or a cork placed in the folds of the material just above the wound will be more effective in stopping the bleeding than if the material alone is used.

5. The tightly twisted material should be loosened on a physician's advice.

6. The affected injured part should be elevated above the victim's heart level, if possible.

7. When bleeding has stopped, a tincture of iodine, Dettol or other disinfectants should be applied by soaking sterile cotton and padding it on the wound.

8. A few layers of sterile gauze should be placed and bandage up.


How to Manage Nose Bleeding

Nose bleeding (Epistaxis) is a common periodic episode that is experienced by children and some adolescents in excessive heat or cold weather, or during engagement in sporting activities. Adults who experience high blood pressure may have an attack which must be regarded as one of the warning signs of heart attack (apoplexy).

Nose bleeding is usually venous in origin and may occur as part of an infection, especially when the child has a cold or any other upper respiratory tract infection, the causes of nose bleeding under injury (blows), growth, high blood pressure, varicose veins, altitude, and foreign bodies. Some individuals experience the recurrence frequently than others.

The treatment of bleeding from the nose is as follows:

1. The victim should be reassured that nose bleeding is not dangerous and that the bleeding will be controlled soon.

2. The victim should be made to sit down with the head well forward.

3. The victim should be directed to breathe through the mouth and avoid blowing his nose or swallowing blood.

4. The first aider should pinch the soft part of the victim's nose firmly with the thumb and forefinger for about 10 minutes. It should be released and reapplied every 10 minutes.

5. The first aider should loosen tight clothing about the neck, chest and waist of the victim to permit the return of venous blood towards the heart 6. If bleeding fails to stop, the first aider should pack the nose with a piece of cotton and saturate it with ice packs.

7. If the above measures fail to control the bleedings medical attention should be obtained.


How to Manage Shock

Shock is a condition arising from stress or injury that leads to an insufficient supply of blood to the brain and other vital organs. It may accompany injuries, bleedings severe pain, or sudden illness.

Shock victims will show such symptoms and signs as:

(a) Body becoming extremely pale or grey.

(b) The skin becomes cold and clammy with profuse sweating

(c) Feels weak and giddy.

(d) The pulse rate becomes quick and feeble.

(e) May feel sick, anxious and may vomit.

(f) May complain of thirst' (avoid giving' 'the victim anything to swallow).

(g) Breathing is shallow and rapid.

(h) Extreme restlessness may set in and the victim may collapse and become unconscious.

To treat shock, the first aider should:

1. Deal with injury or underlying cause of shock.

2. Keep the victim in a horizontal position

3. Keep clothing around the neck, chest and waist loose

4. If there are any signs of head or chest injury, the head and shoulder should be kept elevated. Otherwise, the head should be kept low and turned to one side, with lower limbs raised when possible. 

5. Keep the casualty warm by preventing loss of heat by wrapping him in a blanket or any other available material

6. Call a physician immediately

7. If medical assistance is delayed for more than two hours, administer the following fluids - 4 oz warm water (2 oz to children), - tablespoonful of salt, a pinch of baking soda - every 15 to 20 minutes. 

However, it should be warned that a victim who is vomiting, unconscious, has head injuries, or is complaining of abdominal injuries should not be given fluid.


Read on: What are the 6 importance of first aid?

How to Manage Poisoning

A poison is any substance in either solid, liquid, or gaseous states that tend to temporarily or -permanently damage tissue or adversely alters organ function or cause death when introduced into the body.

Poisoning may be accidental or intentional (self -administered) and can constitute a serious threat to life. 

Poisoning in children is the result of lack of supervision negligence in storage or disposal of poisonous substances and curiosity combined with children's inability to read.

The routes of administration of poisons include:

1. Ingestion (swallowing) through the mouth

2. Inhalation through the lungs 

3. Injection through the skin

4. Direct body contact or absorption through the skin. 

The symptoms of poisoning will depend on the type and amount of the agent introduced into the body. 

It is difficult to present specific symptoms because of the wide variety of physiological effects of different agents.

However, the typical indicators that can serve as clues when poisons are ingested, inhaled or absorbed include:

1. When ingested, may cause itching, retching vomiting, pain and often diarrhoea. Strong acids and alkalis will burn the lips, mouth, gullet and stomach, causing intense pain. Barbiturates and aspirin produce depressions drowsiness and unconsciousness. Aspirin may cause vomiting.

2. When inhaled, some industrial gases are rapidly fatal, some produce breathing difficulties later.

3. When absorbed, certain pesticides cause convulsions.

The Treatment for Poisoning should adopt the following general procedure, bearing in mind that first aid aims to sustain life and moving the victim urgently to the hospital. 

If the victim is conscious, the first aider should:

a. Quickly ask what happened, bearing in mind that the victim may lose consciousness at any time.

b. Determine what and how much was taken.

c. Determine specific first aid procedures.

d. Administer specific first aid.

Example of specific first aid includes:

· Acids (toilet bowl cleaners, phenol. Do not induce vomiting. 

Give a mixture of 30 milliliters of milk of magnesia, baking soda solution) or antacid in a large glass of water.

Then give 50 milliliters of olive oil or vegetable oil, or the white of two raw eggs. If the casualty's lips and mouth show signs of burns, give a glass of water or milk to dilute the poison

· Alcohol Induce vomiting

· Amphetamines ("pep" pills). Give one glass of milk, and then induce vomiting.

· Aspirin Induce vomiting

· Petroleum Products (gasoline, kerosene, furniture polish). Do not induce vomiting. Give one or two glasses of water or milk

· Gas - Inhaled cooking gas, carbon monoxide. Move victim to fresh air. Give artificial respiration, if necessary.

· Barbiturates (sedatives). 

Induce vomiting, if the victim is conscious, and then have the victim drink large quantities of hot coffee or tea. Give artificial respiration if the casualty has stopped breathing.

· Arsenic (ant poisons). Induce vomiting, and then give the whites of two raw eggs and several glasses of milk. Vomiting is induced by the first aider pressing his finger or the blunt end of a spoon at the back of the victim's throat

· Give the casualty a mixture of 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of salt in a glass of warm water.

The foregoing indicates that first aid for poisoning consists of two major kinds of treatments:

a. Neutralizing the poison through administering the proper antidote.

b. Removing the poison from the body through such means as vomiting. 

Place the victim in recovery position.

If the victim is unconscious, the first aider should follow the ABC of resuscitation Place the victim in the recovery position.

In both conscious and unconscious cases, the first aider, after the above actions, should quickly dial a physician for medical advice for further action or poison control center, supplying the following information:

· Type and amount of poison or drug taken, if known, otherwise, the general nature of the poison

· Age of the victim

· Care or first aid given so far, condition of the victim (conscious, blue, convulsive)

· Whether vomiting occurred

· Location (distance from the medical center)

The label or container of the poison should be saved for identification and clue to the estimated amount taken

· Alternatively, arrange to take the casualty by car or ambulance quickly to the hospital. The casualty should be transported in a recovery position.


Also read: What are the golden rules for first aid?

Conclusion on First Aid Care for Bleeding

In conclusion, you will agree with me that different methods can be used to arrest bleeding. In this post, you equally learnt how to manage bleeding nose, shock, and poisoning. 

I do not think you will find it difficult to manage these emergencies.

In this post, we learnt the different methods of arresting bleeding, and also how to manage nose bleeding, shock and poisoning. 

You equally learnt how to apply pressure to wound and how to use a tourniquet to stop bleeding

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