Minor wounds can be treated by a first aider, but more serious wounds should be treated by medical professionals.
What is it?
The severity of bleeding depends on the location, size and depth of the wound causing it. If the bleeding's severe, it can be dramatic and distressing.
First aid aims
- Control bleeding
- Minimise shock
- Prevent infection
- Prevent cross-infection between the casualty and yourself and, if necessary, arrange for casualty to go to hospital.
- Check whether there's an object embedded in the wound
- If there's nothing embedded, press on wound with your hand, ideally over a clean pad, and secure with a bandage
- Raise wound above level of casualty's heart
- If blood seeps through the bandage, put another one on top
- If blood comes through second bandage, remove both and apply a fresh one
- If there's an object embedded in the wound, firmly push together the edges of the wound to try to stem blood loss
Bruises can be treated by a first aider, although a casualty should seek medical help if the bruise is around their eyes.
What are they?
Bruises are the result of internal bleeding under the skin. The older you are, the more easily bruising occurs. Bruises normally fade within a few days and aren't usually dangerous.
First aid aims
- Minimise swelling
- Reduce discomfort
- Raise affected limb, support it and make casualty comfortable
- Apply a cold compress - a small towel wrung out in cold water, a bag of ice cubes or a packet of frozen peas
- Keep compress on injured area for about 30 minutes, changing it periodically to keep it cold
If the affected limb is an arm, it may help to put it in a sling.
Medical advice should be sought for a bruise around the eyes (particularly if vision is affected), or if you suspect a more serious cause for the bruising.