How to Patch Up Wounds & Bleeding

Mike Dennis
Posted by Mike Dennis

Date: Wednesday, 05 October 2016. -  
Blog, First Aid

An open wound on the skin is an injury involving an external break in body tissue. Nearly everyone will experience this type of wound at some point in their lives, with most being minor and treatable at home. So, how exactly should we treat wounds & bleeding?

The first step in treating an open wound is to wash and disinfect the area to remove all dirt and debris. Now, we need to apply direct pressure to the wound and apply a non-fluffy sterile dressing. If the wound contains an embedded object, apply pressure either side of the object.

Once the wound is dressed, it should be elevated above the casualty's heart to reduce blood loss. Depending on the location of the wound, this can be done by creating a sling around the casualty's neck if the wound is on the arm or hand. If the wound is on the legs, lay the casualty down and elevate the legs with cushions or any object large enough.

If the bleeding starts to show through the first dressing, you should apply another one over the top of it. However, if the bleeding continues to come through both dressings, you should remove both and start again; ensuring enough pressure is being applied directly over the wound.

When to see a doctor:

  • If the wound is deeper than ½ an inch
  • If the bleeding does not stop with direct pressure.
  • If the bleeding lasts longer than 20 minutes.
  • If the wound is the result of a serious accident.

If the wound contains an embedded object – direct pressure should be applied around the object, and a dressing should be built up around the object; keeping it firmly in place. Removing the object could result in internal damage and greater loss of blood. The casualty should be taken to a hospital to have the wound treated professionally by a nurse or doctor.

For more information on controlling bleeding, our handy infogram has everything you'll need. Or for first aid tips on the go, our app has everything from controlling bleeding to treating unconscious casualties. Plus it works without the need for wifi or data!