Stop the Bleeding: First Aid for Severe Wounds

Severe wounds can occur due to accidents, trauma, or emergencies, and stopping the bleeding promptly is crucial for preventing excessive blood loss and potentially saving lives. While professional medical help should be sought for severe wounds, having the knowledge and skills to provide immediate first aid can make a significant difference in the outcome. In this blog post, we will discuss essential first aid techniques to stop severe bleeding, empowering you to take action during critical moments and provide effective care. Remember, these techniques are meant to supplement, not replace, professional medical care. Always seek medical attention for severe wounds.

  1. Ensure Your Safety and Create a Safe Environment:

Before attending to someone with a severe wound, ensure your safety and create a safe environment. Assess the situation and be aware of any potential hazards that could cause harm to yourself or the injured person. Use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves or a barrier device to protect against possible infections.

  1. Call for Help:

If possible, call for emergency medical services immediately or ask someone nearby to call for help while you attend to the wound. The sooner professional medical help arrives, the better, especially in the case of severe bleeding.

  1. Apply Direct Pressure:

Direct pressure is the most effective method to stop severe bleeding. Follow these steps:

- Have the person lie down: Lay the injured person down, if possible, and elevate the bleeding limb to reduce blood flow to the wound.

- Expose the wound: Gently remove or cut away any clothing covering the wound to expose the bleeding area.

- Apply sterile gauze or a clean cloth: Place a sterile gauze pad or a clean cloth directly on the wound and apply firm, direct pressure with your hand.

- Maintain pressure: Continue applying firm pressure to the wound for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Do not release pressure to check the bleeding during this time, as it may disrupt the clot formation.

  1. Elevate the Injured Area:

If the wound is on an extremity, such as an arm or leg, elevate the injured area above the level of the heart. This can help reduce blood flow to the wound and aid in slowing down the bleeding. Use pillows, blankets, or other available items to elevate the limb, if possible.

  1. Apply Additional Pressure:

If direct pressure alone does not stop the bleeding, you can apply additional pressure by using a tourniquet or digital pressure:

- Tourniquet: A tourniquet can be used as a last resort for severe, life-threatening bleeding that cannot be controlled by direct pressure. Place the tourniquet 2 to 3 inches above the bleeding site and tighten it until the bleeding stops. Note the time of application and inform emergency medical services as soon as possible, as tourniquets should not be left in place for an extended period.

- Digital pressure: If the bleeding is coming from a specific point, such as an artery, apply pressure with your fingers or thumb directly on the artery, proximal to the bleeding site. Maintain continuous pressure until help arrives.

  1. Use Hemostatic Agents:

Hemostatic agents are substances that help promote blood clotting and control severe bleeding. If available, consider using a hemostatic agent according to the product's instructions. These agents can be effective in situations where direct pressure alone is insufficient.

  1. Do Not Remove Blood-Soaked Dressings:

If blood soaks through the initial dressing, do not remove it. Instead, place additional dressings on top and continue applying pressure. Removing a blood-soaked dressing can disturb the clotting process and restart the bleeding.

  1. Stay Calm and Provide Reassurance:

Severe bleeding can be distressing for both the injured person and those providing first aid. It is important to stay calm, speak reassuringly, and provide emotional support. Reassure the person that help is on the way and that you are there to assist them until professional medical help arrives.

  1. Monitor Vital Signs:

While attending to the severe wound, monitor the injured person's vital signs, including breathing rate, pulse, and skin color. If any signs of shock, such as pale skin, rapid breathing, or a weak pulse, are present, it is crucial to communicate this information to the emergency medical personnel when they arrive.

  1. Continuous Monitoring and Reassessment:

Once bleeding is controlled or medical help arrives, continue to monitor the wound and the injured person's condition. Be prepared to reassess and provide further first aid if necessary.

  1. Seek Professional Medical Help:

While the above techniques can help control severe bleeding, it is important to seek professional medical help for severe wounds as soon as possible. Once the bleeding is controlled, provide the injured person with the necessary comfort and support while waiting for medical professionals to take over.


Knowing how to stop severe bleeding is a vital first aid skill that can save lives. By taking immediate action, applying direct pressure, elevating the injured area, and considering additional measures such as tourniquets or hemostatic agents, you can effectively control severe bleeding until professional medical help arrives. Remember to stay calm, prioritize your safety, and provide reassurance to the injured person throughout the process. While first aid can be life-saving, seeking professional medical attention is crucial for proper evaluation, treatment, and follow-up care for severe wounds.

First Aid
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