Severe bleeding refers to the heavy blood flow that results in a lot of blood being lost from the body. Severe bleeding may be caused by the body’s natural openings such as the mouth and the nose, or due to external cuts caused by injury or trauma. Internal bleeding occurs due to physical trauma in which the blood vessels are damaged without perforating the skin.
- Falls, accidents, assaults
- Blows to the head
- Tooth extraction
- Illnesses: Hemophilia, cancer, scurvy, anemia, leukemia, thrombocytopenia, hemorrhage, liver disease, septicemia, platelet disorder
- Heavy bleeding
- Vomiting blood
- Blood discharge from natural openings of the body
- Bloody stool or urine
- Darkening of the skin in case of internal bleeding injuries
If you see signs of internal bleeding, contact emergency medical help promptly. Signs and symptoms of internal bleeding include:
- Bleeding from natural openings
- Cool skin
- Darkening of the skin
- Vomiting blood
- Coughing out blood
- Bruising on the abdominal region and the neck or chest region
- Injuries that have radiated towards the skill, chest or abdominal regions
- Weakness and anxiety
Before you begin self-treatment, make sure you wash your hands with soap and water to prevent infection. Wear gloves, if you have any with you. In case the wound is in the abdominal region or has displaced any organs, do not try to recover the injury yourself by trying to push the organs back to their original positions. Simply, cover the injury with a sterile dressing.
Follow the given instructions below, in case of heavy bleeding:
- Allow the casualty to lie down and cover him with a blanket so that body heat is not lost. Ensure that the person’s head is lower than the chest level and elevate the legs and injured area to encourage blood circulation.
- Remove any dirt or debris with gloves on. Do not try to remove any object embedded in your skin.
- Use a sterile bandage or clean piece of fabric to apply pressure directly on the wound for at least 20 minutes to stop bleeding. Do not continually check while applying pressure if the bleeding has stopped. Maintain this pressure by securing the wound with a tightly wound bandage and adhesive tape. If no cloth or bandage is available, it is ideal that you wear gloves while stopping the bleeding with your hands but if nothing is at your disposal, simply use your bare hands.
- If bleeding is continuous and soaks the gauze, do not remove it. Simply, add more dressing on top of the existing gauze.
- If bleeding is persistent, squeeze a main artery to discourage blood flow. You can do this by applying pressure directly on pressure points above the elbow, inside the arm and below the armpit to prevent blood discharge from an arm injury. Bleeding in case of a leg injury can be stopped by applying pressure in the genitals or behind the knee. The main arteries are present in these regions and lie against a bone. While applying pressure, flatten your fingers and apply pressure on the wound as well with your other hand.
- Once bleeding has stopped, do not remove the bandages; seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
Learn More About Treating Severe Bleeding
To learn more about this topic and emergencies take a St Mark James training course. Courses such as emergency, standard and childcare first aid cover major and minor bleeding emergencies. To find a provider near you visit our locations page. We have training partners located throughout Canada in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Regina and Winnipeg.
Related Video on Severe Bleeding