£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 14 November 2022 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more
Controlling a severe bleed
Skip main navigation

Controlling a severe bleed

Basic introduction to controlling a severe bleed
Fingers with a blue bandage round them
© University of Glasgow, 2017

Controlling a severe bleed is vital to prevent shock and save lives!

Step 1 – EXPOSE:

If the wound is covered by clothing expose it to assess the type and severity

Step 2 – PRESSURE:

Is there a foreign body in the wound? (i.e. a piece of glass)

o YES

DO NOT APPLY DIRECT PRESSURE ON WOUND – this could push object deeper

DO NOT REMOVE THE OBJECT – this may cause more damage inside the wound

APPLY PRESSURE EITHER SIDE OF FOREIGN BODY – pushing the wound edges together

o NO

Apply direct pressure over wound, preferably with a clean dressing. If not then ask the patient to apply the pressure themselves with their hand

Step 3 – RAISE:

Maintain pressure on the wound and raise it above the level of the heart – reduced blood flow to wound

• Injured arm: raise over casualty’s head

• Injured leg: lie the casualty down and gently raise and hold the leg up

• Severe bleed/suspected shock: lie casualty down and raise both legs above the level of the heart

Step 4 – WARM:

Blood loss puts the casualty at risk of hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature) so keep them warm using a blanket or rug if one is available. If not then use a jumper or jacket.

Step 5 – BANDAGE:

DO NOT tourniquet the limb

If a sterile bandage available then use it to dress the wound

Wrap tight enough to maintain pressure but don’t cut off the circulation – this may threaten the limb

If blood seeps through then apply another one on top or change the bandage if saturated

Secure limb in a raised position and check occasionally to ensure circulation is not cut off

Step 6 – HELP:

Call 999 for emergency help if the bleeding continues. Continue to apply pressure and pay attention to the casualty’s breathing and consciousness level until help arrives

© University of Glasgow, 2017
This article is from the free online

Basic First Aid: How to Be an Everyday Hero

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education