May 2016 – First-Aid Series: Wounds and Bleeding
From motor vehicle collisions, to power tool mishaps – many different workplace injuries will result in wounds and bleeding. Knowing how to respond properly to a bleeding wound is a critical skill for all first-responders.
A wound is a break in the skin that allows blood to escape from the body. Bleeding is potentially serious as fluid is lost from the circulatory system which serves to decrease blood pressure and lead to the victim going into shock. Bleeding from the smallest blood vessels – the capillaries – is usual minor. However if the larger vessels, the arteries and veins are damaged significant life-threatening blood loss can result very quickly.
These first-aid principles are the same no matter where the site of blood loss. Blood loss from an artery is often bright red, if a major vessel is damaged, blood may be spurting from the wound in time with the heartbeat. Blood loss from a vein will be darker red and if a larger vein is damaged will often gush profusely. In some parts of the body, nerves and other tendons can run very close to the blood vessels and may become damaged additionally as the result of a wound. This can lead to the casualty experiencing loss of movement or feeling.
Response to Bleeding Wounds:
- Always take precautions and use non-latex disposable gloves if you have them. These will help protect yourself and the casualty from infection during treatment. If possible seek advice from the person and see if they are taking blood thinning medications, since these individuals tend to bleed more profusely.
- Apply direct pressure by placing a clean and sterile dressing over the injury and pressing firmly. Never use indirect pressure as it will cut off blood supply to the limb increasing complications.
- Raise the injured body part so that it is higher the casualty’s heart. This will help to slow blood loss and promote clotting. If the injury is to the hand, it can be raised by fashioning a simple sling. It can be more difficult to apply this principle when the injury is to the torso or upper leg.
- If signs of shock appear call emergency services immediately. Make a note of the causality’s level of consciousness and pulse. Re-check regularly until medical help arrives. Ask the injured person to lie down while keeping the injured body part elevated. Raise the feet by placing them on a chair or stool – this serves to prevent the blood pooling in the legs. Give them a blanket or coat to keep them warm.
- Tie a bandage around the dressing to secure it. If bleeding persists then call emergency services. If blood seeps through a dressing cover it with another one, secured with a second bandage. If blood comes through the second bandage you may not be applying pressure at the right point. Take off both dressings and apply a new one.
Memorize and follow these steps when responding to bleeding wounds. Proper action will help to minimize the severity of any first-responder situation and improve the outcome to any injury.
For more information on loss control services contact Jeff Rausch, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, P: 502-708-3124 www.RMSC.com
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