Medically Reviewed by Dr. David Costa Navarro
Injection or pulsating bleeding indicates damage to a major artery and can be life-threatening. You should try to stop the bleeding and then call 911 so that the injured person can get help quickly and be taken to hospital.
It is good to know how to do something to help a person who is injured and bleeding with simple means. Stopping a bleeding can save lives.
If you or someone else is bleeding a lot and losing blood quickly, no preparation is needed. The most important thing is to stop the bleeding as soon as possible.
That’s how it goes
Spraying, pulsating bleeding indicates that a larger pulse vein has been damaged. Then it is important that you quickly stop the bleeding by doing the following:
- If possible, join the wound edges together and press firmly against the wound. You should try to keep the damaged body part as high as possible above the heart level, as it lowers local blood pressure and reduces bleeding.
- Then you make a pressure dressing and put it over the wound. It is good to use something hard, such as a rolled up elastic band or piece of heavy weight fabric, to create a proper print. You should continue to leave the bleeding body part high.
- Finally, call 112 so that the injured person gets help quickly and is taken to hospital.
Make a pressure dressing
You can make a simple pressure dressing by folding compresses, a piece of fabric or the like and pressing it against the wound. Then wrap gauze or tie a scarf tightly around the injury. You can make the print more effective using a piece of folded fabric, or any other hard that you can press against the compress or fabric piece before the bandage is wrapped. If you do not have access to compresses or fabric, you may press your fingers or fist directly into the wound.
The risk of being infected with blood when you help someone who is injured is very small if you do not have ulcers or eczema. You can wear gloves or put plastic bags on your hands to avoid blood contamination through direct contact. It is also important to avoid getting infected by splashes in the eyes.
A pressure bandage should remain in place until the injured person arrives at a hospital. You can strengthen the pressure dressing if it bleeds through. You should not remove the old dressing, but just put a new dressing on top.
The damaged body part is held high
To reduce bleeding, keep the bleeding body part as high as possible above the heart level. If it is bleeding a lot, it is good if the injured person lies down, preferably with his head low and his legs high. The blood that circulates in the body then flows more easily back to the heart so that it can be pumped on, for example to the brain that cannot do without oxygen.
Try to keep the injured person warm by putting on blankets or extra clothes. Do not give anything to drink as there is a risk that the person will vomit. It is good if the stomach is empty in case the latter would be the case with surgery.
In case of emergency, the blood supply must be cut off
If bleeding does not decrease, it is possible to temporarily lace the blood supply. You do this by tightening, for example, a scarf or scarf above a bleeding injury to your arm or leg.
Such a lacing should only be used as an absolute emergency measure if pressure dressings and high positions do not help, and must not remain longer than twenty to thirty minutes. Otherwise, there is a risk of permanent damage due to oxygen deficiency in the tissues. If you have made a lace for not being able to quickly connect the wound, you can try to let go of it as soon as you have a proper dressing.
Call 911 for signs of shock
When a person is bleeding heavily, there may be too little blood circulating in the blood vessels. The heart then tries to keep the circulation going by pumping around the remaining blood more quickly, but if this is not enough, the person may suffer a shock and become unconscious. It may also happen that the injured person receives a dangerously low pulse rate due to a rapid bleeding.
You should immediately call 911 for signs of shock that may be as follows:
- Fast pulse that eventually becomes irregular.
- Gray pale and cold sweaty skin.
- Restlessness and anxiety, which goes into lethargy and fatigue.
- Quick and superficial breathing.
- Yawning due to lack of oxygen.
- Cold hands and feet.
Heavy, slower bleeding
Heavy bleeding that is not pulsating but flows slowly may also need to be stopped by a pressure bandage. It is also good to keep the injured body high for a while. Most often, the wound has stopped bleeding after about a quarter, and then you can gently remove the dressing.
Clean the wound
You can then clean the wound like this:
- Wash your hands.
- Rinse the wound under running water.
- Use mild soap, preferably liquid, if there is dirt in the wound.
- Make sure there are no pieces of glass or other debris left.
- Put the wound edges together and apply compress or plaster if the wound is less than a centimeter and misses less than a few millimeters. You can also tape the wound edges together with special wound tape, which can be purchased at pharmacies.
Some wounds may need to be sewn
Contact the healthcare provider if the wound is deep or does not stop bleeding after half an hour. This also applies if the wound is larger than a centimeter or misses more than a few millimeters. Then it may need to be sewn.
Also, contact the healthcare provider if you think the wound needs to be sewn, as the wound should preferably be sewn within eight hours. The doctor sometimes refuses to sew the wound if it has been longer than eight hours, because of the risk of infection. The wound can then heal itself. Even wounds caused by bites or dirty wounds that are difficult to get clean enough may need to be left open due to the risk of infection.
Review the protection against tetanus
You may get tetanus if you do not have sufficient vaccination protection and get soil or other dirt into the wound. This is true even if, for example, you have been bitten by an animal, cut on a dirty knife or trampled on a dirty nail. Tetanus is a serious infectious disease caused by bacteria found in soil, among other things.
In USA, all children are offered vaccination against tetanus.
You can get an immunoglobulin syringe if you are not vaccinated and get a wound at risk of tetanus. Then you get instant protection against tetanus.
At the same time, you also receive a first vaccination syringe against tetanus. Then you can take several syringes according to a special schedule for longer protection.
Influence and participate in your care
You can seek care at any medical center or open specialist clinic you want throughout the country.
You should understand the information
In order for you to be involved in your care and treatment, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare personnel.