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The human body contains nine units of blood—but in matters of a traumatic cut or injury, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re unsure whether you’re in an emergency situation, get to an emergency room and let them decide.
Call 911 immediately if a victim:Has an obviously serious woundHas trouble breathing Continues to bleed after 15 minutes of applying direct pressureDisplays symptoms like lightheadedness, confusion, rapid breathing, weakness, nausea, or a change in their consciousness
Step 1: Put on gloves
If they are available, put on a pair of disposable gloves.
Step 2: Elevate body part
Help the victim lie down, and elevate the body part that is bleeding. If it is possible to raise the part above the heart, this will help slow the bleeding.
Step 3: Remove & clean
Remove or clean anything that’s in or near the wound that you can remove or clean easily, including clothing or jewelry.
Step 4: Cover & press
Cover the wound with sterile gauze pads or cloth, and press firmly against the wound. Keep the pressure steady and consistent.
If a foreign object is causing the bleeding, such as a knife or a piece of wood, do not remove it. It may be keeping the bleeding under control. Try to keep the object and injured area still, placing the dressing around the object and pressing lightly against wound.
Step 5: Wrap bandage & secure
Wrap a clean bandage around the wound and secure it with adhesive tape, bandage clips, or safety pins. If blood soaks through the bandage, apply another bandage over the first one.
Step 6: Continue applying pressure
Continue applying pressure, either with your hand on the dressing or with the bandage, for at least 15 minutes. Do not check to see if the bleeding has stopped before the time is up.
Step 7: Call 911
If the flow of blood has not slowed or stopped after 15 minutes of steady pressure, call 911.
Step 8: Squeeze artery
If the bleeding does not stop, squeeze the artery that supplies blood to that limb or area against the bone with the heel of your hand. Maintain direct pressure on the wound and direct pressure on the pressure point until help arrives.
To find the artery on an arm, press midway between the shoulder and the elbow on the inside of the arm. To find the artery on a leg, press against the crease where the inside of the thigh meets the groin.
Step 9: Remove gloves
Carefully remove your gloves, being sure not to come into contact with the blood.
Step 10: Wash hands
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water once you’re done tending to the bleeding.
Did You Know?
The arteries that supply your arms with blood are called the brachial arteries; those in your legs are the femoral arteries.