Severe Bleeding

How to Recognize and Treat Severe Bleeding

Severe bleeding is a life-threatening emergency that can happen very quickly and without warning. It is important to know how to recognize and treat severe bleeding in order to save someone’s life. Here is what you need to know.

Signs of Severe Bleeding

Severe bleeding can present itself in many ways. Here are some common signs of severe bleeding:

  • A steady flow of blood from the wound
  • An inability to stop the bleeding, even after applying pressure
  • Development of a hematoma (swelling) near the wound
  • Weakness or confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness or fainting

Treatment of Severe Bleeding

The most important thing to do in the event of severe bleeding is to call for help. Call 911 and let the dispatcher know the location and the type of injury.

The next step is to attend to the bleeding. If it is a limb injury, keep the injured person from moving the limb and lay them down in a comfortable position. Apply direct pressure to the wound for 15 to 30 minutes, using a clean cloth or towel to stop the bleeding.

If available, elevate the wound above the person's heart by placing a pillow, rolled up t-shirt, or other item underneath it. This can help slow the bleeding. Don’t remove the cloth that is pressing the wound but instead add more cloth or bandages on top of it to maintain pressure.

Once help arrives they will likely take over with specialized equipment for further medical treatment.

Preventing Severe Bleeding

The best way to treat severe bleeding is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Be aware of any potential hazards and take steps to minimize them, such as:

  • Wearing protective clothing while doing risky activities
  • Making sure sharp objects are handled safely
  • Using safety gear when engaged in sports or other activities
  • Taking heed of safety instructions in medical offices or hospitals
  • Avoiding risky behaviors such as driving under the influence

By staying aware and taking precautions you can prevent severe bleeding and save someone’s life.