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There are few things more terrifying than being in a situation involving profuse bleeding. Unless you have had special training in life saving techniques or are a trained medical professional the average person can only guess what they must do. Learning these few quick responses to severe bleeding wounds will help you understand what must be done in this type of life threatening situation. Immediately dial 911 to ask for medical assistance.

The first thing to remember is that pressing on the wound with a thick pad and elevating the limb when possible will help stymie the blood flow. You do not have to worry about what you will use. It can be an article of clothing, towels, socks, handkerchiefs or any cloth item that is handy. Do not worry with trying to find sterile gauze pads in this situation. The most important thing you need to do is immediately stop the bleeding since at this point infection is not the concern. Once you have applied the cloth to the wound, do not lift it to see if the bleeding has slowed. This will only allow the bleeding to start again. Hold the pad firmly in place over the wound. If the original cloth becomes saturated leave it on the wound. Apply another cloth on top of it and continue pressing the wound. If the wound is on an arm or leg and you suspect there might be a fracture do not attempt to elevate the limb. Arms can be held upright for elevation and legs can be propped up against anything available.

If you can determine, without removing the cloth, that the bleeding has stopped or slowed you can then tightly wrap the center of a strip of cloth over the pad and tie it. If the bleeding is severe and does not seem to stop, continue applying pressure to the area on your way to the hospital. In this case you can also find the area where the main artery above the wound comes close enough to the bone to be squeezed against and apply direct pressure to the artery.

In the case of a leg wound you will need to press the heel of your hand into the groin. If it is an arm wound use the flat of your fingers to press the upper arm.

If the wound is caused by an accident and you suspect there might be internal injuries, head or neck injuries, do not move the person. Apply pressure to areas of severe bleeding and keep the person lying down until medical help arrives. It is very important that you cover the victim to keep them warm and try to make sure that the head is lower than the body unless the person is unconscious. As a last resort a tourniquet can be applied when the bleeding becomes life threatening or a limb has been severed. In this case, if the bleeding can be stopped by less drastic pressure than a tourniquet, it is often possible for a physician to reattach the limb. To make a tourniquet you will need long, wide strips of cloth and a stick, ball point pen or whatever is available. Above and as close to the wound as possible, wind the strip of cloth twice around the limb. Tie a half knot and place the stick over the knot. Tie two full knots and then twist the stick until the bleeding stops. You can then secure the stick by tying it to the limb. It is very important to remember that when you apply a tourniquet you will need to write down the time it was applied. Do not loosen the tourniquet once it is applied or you could throw the person into shock from renewed bleeding. In a situation where you cannot get medical help immediately you should loosen the tourniquet every 1 to 1 1\2 hours and then retighten it.