Wounds and Bleeding First Aid – First Aid Advice

Wounds and Bleeding First Aid – Introduction

A wound or cut is considered to be deep if tendons or other internal parts can be seen. A gaping wound is one where the edges of the cut cannot be pulled back together. Wounds caused by sharp objects, such as knives, can cause internal damage even if the outside wound only appears to be small. It is important to make sure that any wound is kept clean, to avoid an infection developing.

Regardless how severe, all bleeding can be controlled. If left uncontrolled, bleeding may lead to shock or even death. Most bleeding can be stopped before the ambulance arrives at the scene. While you’re performing the steps for controlling bleeding, you should also be calling for an ambulance to respond. Bleeding control is only part of the equation.

External Bleeding

Wounds and bleeding first aid – Symptoms and signs

  • obvious bleeding


  • DRABC (Danger, Respond, Airway, Breathing, Circulation)
  • Lay casualty down
  • Apply direct pressure to the site of bleeding
  • Raise and rest the injured part when possible
  • Loosen tight clothing
  • Give nothing by mouth
  • Call 999

Direct pressure

  1. Apply direct pressure to the wound with your fingers or hand.
  2. As soon as possible, place a clean dressing over the wound. Apply a bulky pad extending beyond the edges of the wound, and firmly bandage. If bleeding continues, leave the dressing in place and relocate the pad.
  3. Do not disturb pads or bandages once bleeding is controlled.

Uncontrolled Bleeding

If severe bleeding cannot be controlled by direct pressure, it may be necessary to apply pressure to the pressure points. These are found on the main artery above the wound. When bleeding has been controlled, remove pressure to the point and reapply direct pressure to the wound. Occasionally, in major limb injuries such as partial amputations and shark attack , severe bleeding cannot be controlled by direct pressure. Only then, it may be necessary to resort to the application of a constrictive bandage above the elbow or knee.

Using a constrictive bandage

  1. Select a strip of firm cloth, at least 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) wide and about 75 centimetres (30 inches)long. This may be improvised from clothing or a narrow folded triangular bandage.
  2. Bind the cloth strip firmly around the injured limb above the bleeding point until a pulse can no longer be felt beyond the constrictive bandage and bleeding is controlled.
  3. Tie firmly.
  4. Note the time application. After 30 minutes, release the bandage and check for bleeding. If there is no bleeding, remove it. If bleeding recommences, apply direct pressure. If this is unsuccessfully, reapply the constrictive bandage, and recheck every 30 minutes.
  5. Ensure that the bandage is clearly visible and inform medical aid of the location and time of its application.

Internal Bleeding

Symptoms and signs

Evidence of internal bleeding from some organs may be seen by the first aider. For example :

  • coughing up red frothy blood
  • vomiting blood the colour of coffee grounds or bright red. The blood may be mixed with food.
  • passing of faeces with a black, tarry appearance
  • passing of faeces which are red in colour
  • passing urine which has a red or smoky appearance.

Concealed bleeding within the abdomen may be suspected when there is :

  • pain
  • tenderness
  • rigidity of abdominal muscles.

Internal bleeding will be accompanied by any of the following symptoms and signs :

  • faintness or dizziness
  • restlessness
  • nausea
  • thirst
  • weak, rapid pulse
  • cold, clammy skin
  • rapid, gasping breathing
  • pallor
  • sweating


  • Lay the casualty down
  • Raise the legs or bend the knees
  • Loosen tight clothing
  • Call 999
  • Give nothing by mouth
  • Reassure the casualty

Wounds and bleeding first aid – GK First Aid Training offer a number of First Aid Courses that deal with the condition of Wounds and Bleeding. We offer both the 1 Day Emergency First Aid at Work and the 3 Day First Aid at Work Course. Both of these courses can be delivered directly to you in your workplace. Call us directly on 0800 774 7034 to discuss your requirements.