Bleeding injuries are common in the United States. Accidents can happen at home, in the workplace, or while participating in sports or other recreational activities.
Many homes and workplaces have first aid kits you can use to help control minor bleeding. If bleeding is severe or if you’re far from a hospital, you can be a critical part of emergency response if you keep a cool head and act fast.
Most importantly, follow emergency protocols that protect you and the injured person from potential further injury or infection. Mass General Brigham emergency medicine doctor Regan Marsh, MD, MPH, shares these immediate steps you can take if someone close to you is bleeding from an injury. Learn how to stop bleeding and what to do if there is severe bleeding.
If there’s no immediate danger:
Bleeding may require emergency care if it:
Try to stop or control the bleeding until help comes:
For arm and leg wounds with severe bleeding that does not stop with direct pressure, consider applying a tourniquet. A tourniquet is a cord or band that is tightened around a limb, usually above a wound, to stop the flow of blood through a vein or artery. When used properly, a tourniquet can prevent excessive blood loss and keep someone from “bleeding out.”
Before you use a tourniquet, make sure to follow the guidelines below:
If you can stop the bleeding at home, gently clean the wound following the recommended steps below:
Accidents happen, and emergency responders can take time to arrive. Follow these steps and you’ll be doing the best you can to stabilize the situation while you wait for help.