Bleeding can involve minor cuts and scrapes or may be caused by major puncture wounds or injuries. Most injuries can be treated at home or in an urgent care facility, but if someone is bleeding uncontrollably, call 911.

Classifications of Bleeding

  • CAPILLARY – Small cuts and scrapes open the capillaries, and bleeding occurs. The bleeding is slow and generally clots within a matter of minutes.
  • VENOUS – Deep cuts may open a vein that carries blood back to the heart. The blood is dark in color and flows slowly. Pressure will usually stop this type of injury.
  • ARTERIAL – Injuries that cause arterial bleeding are very serious and require immediate medical attention. Blood from an arterial bleed is bright red and spurts out in rhythm with the heart pumping. Applying pressure will not stop the bleeding. It is important to get help immediately!
Serious Wounds

If blood is gushing or spurting from the wound, call for emergency help. If too much blood is lost, it can result in unconsciousness, shock, or even death. Until emergency help arrives:

  • Make sure the victim is lying down. Position his head lower than the rest of his body, or elevate his legs.
  • Watch for indications of shock (including lack of focus, cold and clammy hands, change in speech, and inability to remember things) or difficulty breathing.
  • Clean out debris or dirt from the injury.
  • Don’t remove any objects stuck deep inside the victim.
  • Using a clean cloth, towel, piece of clothing or your hand, apply pressure to the wound. Maintain pressure for at least 10 minutes.
  • If bleeding seeps through the material you’re using, don’t remove it, simply add more on top. If direct pressure doesn’t stop the bleeding, you may need to put pressure on the artery which supplies blood to the affected area.
  • Elevate the site of the injury.
  • Leave the bandage in place and get emergency help immediately!

Minor Wounds

The kinds of cuts and scrapes you get everyday don’t require a trip to the emergency room, but you need to make sure the wound is taken care of to prevent infection.

  • When cuts or scrapes occur, you first need to stop the bleeding. An injury which does not require emergency treatment will quit bleeding within a few minutes. If bleeding doesn’t stop on its own, apply pressure with a gauze pad or clean cloth. If bleeding continues to flow or spurt, you may need to get medical attention.
  • Clean the Wound. Wash the affected area with mild soap and water. If there is any material embedded in the injury that does not come loose during cleaning, consult a physician. Once the wound is clean, pat the area dry with a clean cloth. Unless the injury is to the face, apply antiseptic or antibiotic cream. You can cover the injury with a bandage.
  • If the injury is deep or has jagged edges, it may require stitches to heal properly and minimize scarring. Consult a physician if you are not sure.
  • Keep the injury area clean and change the bandage daily.
  • If the area of the injury becomes swollen, red, or begins oozing fluids, you need to be evaluated by a physician.