3a. Controlling Bleeding (CPR) (2021)

The third chapter of the CPR course covers Traumatic Injuries. This is the first lesson in chapter three, about Controlling Bleeding. Understanding blood loss is essential in providing care to a bleeding individual. The methods for providing this care are explained, from direct pressure to the application of a tourniquet.

“Blood loss often gets the most attention from all of the traumatic injuries. Many times, the amount of bleeding is overestimated and draws attention to wounds when more serious injuries should be dealt with first. Whenever you are confronted with bleeding, first perform a quick overview of the individual to make sure something more serious is not being overlooked.

When caring for a bleeding individual, always use personal protective equipment. The individual can be instructed to perform some self-care while you put on your protective gear.

Very small wounds such as scrapes can heal more rapidly by using an antibiotic salve. Ask the individual if they have any allergies before applying the antibiotic salve. Thoroughly wash minor scrapes and abrasions with soap and water before bandaging.

The most effective way to stop bleeding from a wound is to apply direct pressure. Use a dressing and your gloved hand to apply firm and direct pressure to the injured area. Continue holding the pressure until the bleeding stops. If there are multiple wounds, apply pressure dressings to the worst injuries first, and then to the lesser bleeding injuries. The injured individual may be able to temporarily assist by holding pressure on some areas.

When direct pressure does not control bleeding, a tourniquet may be required. Understand that the application of a tourniquet is painful but may be necessary to prevent life-threatening blood loss. Tourniquet use is difficult and can be dangerous if done incorrectly. Always start with applying direct pressure first.

To apply a tourniquet, first put on personal protective gear.

Then, apply a tourniquet approximately two inches above the wound.

Tighten until the bleeding stops.

Record the time the tourniquet was applied.

Call 911/EMS.

Stay with the individual and do not release the tourniquet until advanced help arrives and assumes care.

Certain situations may produce massive internal bleeding that is not visible when examining the individual. This may occur from trauma, falls from a height, car accidents, or crush injuries. Penetrating injuries caused by a knife or gunshot may produce devastating internal bleeding with very little external blood loss. Any time you suspect these injuries, immediately call 911/EMS and help the individual lie down and remain still. Check for signs and symptoms of shock. You may need to cover the individual to keep them warm. Stay with them until advanced help arrives.”

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