When someone has an accident resulting in blood loss, the effects can look alarming. Bleeding from areas such as the head can seem to escalate quickly and it is important to act fast to stem the flow and get the person on the road to recovery.
Bleeding incidents can vary in severity from a minor cut on the finger to major blood loss and injuries. Treatment will depend upon the type of injury, the area affected and how much blood has been lost. A foreign object in the wound will complicate matters too, so a full appraisal of the situation must take place before any treatment can begin.
Cuts and grazes
Most bleeding incidents occurring in a normal office setting will not be too extreme. Cuts, scratches and grazes can be easily looked after. Start by raising the affected area above the level of the person's heart to reduce blood flow. Apply pressure to the area by pressing down on the wound with a sterile gauze, unless an object still remains in the cut, in which case you should seek immediate medical help regarding its removal.
Clean the wound under running water or with an alcohol-free wipe before patting dry and covering with a non-fluffy dressing or gauze. Secure with some surgical tape or an adhesive bandage to keep things in place. Smaller cuts can be treated more simply after cleaning with just a dab of antiseptic cream and a sticking plaster.
Although fairly common, nose bleeds can become serious if they are not be stopped and can lead to shock. First check that the person with the nose bleed has not been hit on the head, as watery blood coming from the nose is often an indicator of a fractured skull.
If this is not the case, and the blood from the nose bleed looks normal, sit the person down and get them to lean forwards. This will help the blood drain out of their nose and prevent blocking their throat. Tell them to breathe through their mount and pinch the soft top part of their nose, letting go every ten minutes, until the bleeding slows. Seek medical help if the blood doesn't stop within 30 minutes. Advise the person not to sniff or swallow in the immediate aftermath of a nose bleed , as this could break up the blood clots starting to form in repair.
Larger injuries, or head wounds can bleed dramatically and cause great distress to the patient and those around them. There is a very real danger of the person going into shock or losing consciousness if they are not treated quickly. Medical help should always be sought straight away in cases of severe bleeding.
If the wound still has a foreign object embedded in it, don't try to remove it. Instead, clean and bandage around it as best you can. Wash your hands before touching the affected area and use sterile gloves if available to avoid cross-contamination.
Remove any clothing that is in the way of the wound and apply pressure to the area with your fingers to try and stop the blood flow. Raise the body part above the person's heart if possible, again to slow the rate of blood loss.
Lay the person down to lower their risk of fainting, keeping their legs raised and supported. When the blood flow lessens, wrap a bandage around the wound, keeping it tight, but not restricting circulation. Add new dressings on top if blood continues to seeps through Check the person' pulse and responsiveness regularly while you await professional help.
If you would like to gain further knowledge and practical bandaging skills to treat a bleed, this topic along with other serious illnesses are covered on the First Aid at Work syllabus.