How do I Treat a Bleeding Wound?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Dealing with a bleeding wound is a process that requires understanding the nature of the wound and the best way to stop the bleeding, based on the location of the wound. In many cases, simple first aid procedures will manage bleeding from minor accidents. However, bleeding that is due to some type of major issue will require more aggressive methods, including transportation to medical facilities where professionals can deal with the wound and facilitate the healing process.

It is important to wash a wound with water.
It is important to wash a wound with water.

In order to understand how to address a bleeding wound, it is important to identify the type of bleeding that is taking place. There are actually three different classes of bleeding wounds that may take place. Capillary bleeding is the most basic; capillaries are the small blood vessels in the body, and can sometimes be damaged during a scrape or a minor cut. Because capillaries are so small, the body’s natural clotting process quickly slows the bleeding, making it possible to administer first aid and support the body’s natural healing process.

Minor wounds should be cleaned with soap and water prior to applying a bandage.
Minor wounds should be cleaned with soap and water prior to applying a bandage.

Venous bleeding involves a wound where a vein has been cut in some manner. A bleeding wound of this type releases a slow but steady flow of blood. Often, using some type of tourniquet will help to slow blood flow from the wound, making it easier to clean and bandage the wound. Depending on the severity and placement of the wound, it may be necessary to seal the vein in order to facilitate healing.

A tourniquet is sometimes needed to treat venous bleeding from a wound.
A tourniquet is sometimes needed to treat venous bleeding from a wound.

The most severe type of bleeding wound involves arterial bleeding. When an artery is cut, the blood flow is extremely rapid and very difficult to slow. A large amount of blood can be lost in a matter of minutes. With this type of bleeding, it is important to seek professional medication attention immediately, as the loss of blood can result in death.

An injured party with severe wounds should go a hospital emergency room immediately.
An injured party with severe wounds should go a hospital emergency room immediately.

When attempting to treat a minor bleeding wound, the focus is on cleaning the wound and allowing the body’s natural processes to begin healing the open wound. Washing the wound with plain soap and water is often enough to remove contaminants from the area. Applying simple bandages will also protect the wound as the blood begins to clot and the wound starts to heal.

Slowing the bleeding from a wound can prevent a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
Slowing the bleeding from a wound can prevent a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

With more severe wounds, it is important to attempt to moderate the flow of blood to the damaged area. A good rule of thumb is that if the wound is on the arms or legs, a tourniquet should be used to minimize blood flow to the wound. This will help make it easier to clean and dress the wound, while also preventing the loss of too much blood. Efforts of this type also make it possible to stabilize the individual while preparing for transport to a medical facility.

With a severe bleeding wound, acting quickly is extremely important. Slowing the blood flow as much as possible will help minimize the loss of blood, avoiding the trauma that comes with a sudden decrease in blood pressure. Often, applying direct pressure to the wound will help to slow the blood for the short term. With severe wounds, do not attempt to treat them at home. Apply immediate pressure and transport the injured party to a hospital emergency room at once.

Keep in mind that with any type of bleeding wound where the blood flow does not seem to be slowing, seeking professional medical attention is necessary. What may appear to be a minor wound may in fact be more serious. A quick reaction to a bleeding wound may actually save a person's life.

Most minor cuts to the leg heal fine on their own as long as they are kept clean.
Most minor cuts to the leg heal fine on their own as long as they are kept clean.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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