Cuts and Bleeding

Cuts and Bleeding

Minor cuts

  • Minor cuts usually stop bleeding on their own. However, if necessary, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage and hold for 20 to 30 minutes to stop bleeding.
  • Clean the wound by rinsing under running water and dry with a sterile dressing or clean, lint-free material. Use tweezers cleaned with alcohol to remove any dirt/debris.
  • After you clean the wound, you can apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment, which acts to prevent infection.
  • Cover the cut with a sterile dressing or plaster.
  • If the wound is deep or gaping, it may require stitches: see your doctor as soon as possible. Proper closure within a few hours minimizes the risk of infection.
  • Watch for signs of infection. See your doctor if the wound isn't healing or you notice any redness or swelling.

Woman with a cut

Severe bleeding

  • If possible wash your hands and put on synthetic gloves before attending to a person who has severe bleeding.
  • Lie the person down and raise and support the injured limb.
  • Remove any obvious dirt or debris from the wound; however, do not remove any large or deeply embedded objects or attempt to clean the wound.
  • Apply pressure directly to the wound using a sterile bandage, clean cloth or as a last resort – a piece of clothing. If there is an object in the wound, apply firm pressure on either side of the object.
  • Maintain continuous pressure until the bleeding stops, for at least 20 minutes. You can do this by tying the bandage/cloth/clothing around the wound (in the case of an object in the wound, build up padding around the object and bandage over the object, without pressing on it). Do not look to see if the bleeding has stopped as this will prevent the blood from clotting.
  • If bleeding continues and seeps through material, do not remove it – add more bandaging on top of it.
  • You may also need to treat for shock.
  • Call 999 (or 112) for an ambulance, or take casualty to the hospital.

Shock

Shock can develop following a major injury. It results in an inadequate supply of oxygen to the tissues of the body. It is therefore important to be on the look-out for symptoms of shock in any person who has undergone a major injury.

Symptoms:

  • Cool and clammy skin – can appear pale
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • May lose consciousness

What to do:

  • Lay the person down on their back, with their legs raised higher then the head.
  • Keep the person warm and comfortable.
  • Do not give anything to eat or drink.
  • Check for signs of breathing and begin CPR if necessary.
  • Seek medical help.