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First Aid for Bleeding

Types of Bleeding
Treatment of Serious Bleeding
Internal Bleeding
Gunshot Wounds
Sites of Bleeding

Types of Bleeding


Bright red blood that rhythmically spurts from the body in time with heart beats. This is very serious bleeding and can rapidly result in death.


Dark red blood that ooze from the wound. If a large vein is damaged, blood loss can rapidly lead to death.


Trickling of blood, most common with small cuts and abrasions. This type of bleeding is not serious.

Treatment of Serious Bleeding

Arterial and venous bleeding is classified as serious. You will notice large amounts of blood on and around the casualty.

If the casualty is unconscious, check that the airway is open, that the casualty is breathing and that there is a carotid (neck) pulse. Act accordingly.

Apply direct pressure on the wound, using your hands. If possible, look for sterile first-aid materials, but do not waste time looking for this. If you cannot find any first-aid materials, use a shirt or something similar to put on the wound. Do not use a towel because this will absorb the blood too fast, resulting in further blood loss.

If there is something sticking out of the wound, do not remove it. Press down firmly around it and bandage around it. Lay the casualty down and keep him calm. Raise the injured part above the level of the casualty's heart.

As soon as a first-aid kit is available, apply a sterile dressing. Never remove the original dressing. Simply apply a new dressing over the original one if bleeding doesn't subside. Continue to apply direct pressure. Dial emergency services. Treat the casualty for shock: loosen any tight clothing. Raise the casualty's feet 30-60cm above the ground. Place a blanket or similar under and over the casualty.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is usually completely hidden. Such bleeding can occur as a result of an accident or spontaneously without any warning.

You may notice:

Cold, clammy skin
Rapid, weakening pulse
Discomfort or pain
Restlessness or irritability
Air hunger (the casualty yawns a lot)
Drowsiness; the casualty may even become unconsciousness
The casualty's abdominal area will be rock hard in the area where the bleeding is.


Lay the casualty down and, provided there are no lower rib fractures, raise the legs.
Try to put a blanket underneath as well as on top of the casualty.
Loosen any tight clothing at the neck, chest and waist.
Dial emergency services.
If the casualty becomes unconscious, check that the airway is open, that the patient is breathing and that a carotid artery is present.

Gunshot Wounds

There will be bleeding, but fractures and other internal injuries must always be expected.


Only approach the casualty if it is safe to do so. If the casualty is unconscious, check that the airway is open, that the casualty is breathing and that there is a carotid pulse. Act accordingly.

Stop any life threatening bleeding by applying direct pressure. If an underlying fracture is suspected, immobilize the part. Do not probe the wound for the bullet. Remember to check for exit wounds as these are often more serious than entry wounds. Dial emergency services.

Sites of Bleeding

Site of bleeding Type Cause
Nose or ear Thin watery blood Head injury
Mouth Frothy bright red blood coughed up

Lung injury

Blood vomited up looks like coffee grounds

Bleeding in small intestines or stomach

Fresh blood Bitten tongue or lung injury
Urethra Blood in urine Bleeding in the urinary system. Possible kidney injury

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