First Aid for Bleeding

When someone experiences a cut or any form of bleeding you might start to panic and worsen the situation if you don’t know what to do. Every second counts in a situation where blood loss is rapid. Here are simple steps to take to see to the safety of the victim by acting diligently.

What to do:

1. Control the loss of blood from the circulation – the loss of more than 2 pints, especially in a short time, can have serious effects.

2. For external bleeding, apply pressure over or round the wound. For a nosebleed, pinch the nostrils.

3. For internal bleeding, keep the victim quiet and still while someone else calls a doctor or an ambulance. Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink. Even if he asks for it.

Minor bleeding usually stops in its own accord, but it can be controlled by pressure from a pad or dressing, or even the bare fingers. If the bleeding is severe, make the victim lie still while an ambulance is called. If the wound is in an arm or leg and no fracture is suspected, raise the limb above the level of the rest of the body. Apply dry dressings to the wound. If they become soaked with blood, do not remove them but press more on top.

Internal bleeding

This may be revealed by paleness, breathlessness or restlessness. Blood may be coughed up, vomited or passed in the stools or urine. Internal bleeding can be treated only by a doctor.

Bleeding in the tissues causes bruising, such as that which sometimes accompanies a closed fracture.

If the victim is vomiting, lay him in the recovery position on his stomach with his head turned to one side and the arm and leg of that side drawn up; otherwise lay him in as comfortable a position as possible. Loosen all tight clothing and get him to hospital as quickly as possible, preferably by ambulance which will jolt him less than will other forms of transport.


Sit the victim with his head forward and over a bowl. Pinch his nostrils together firmly for up to ten minutes. By that time the bleeding should stop. If it does not, pinch the nostrils again for another five minutes. If that does not stop the bleeding, get the victim to hospital.

If the victim loses more than half a pint of blood, consult a doctor.