First Aid for Bleeding: 6 Steps To Treat External Bleeding

Last updated:

Table of Content

Health emergencies involving injuries such as chest and chest injury may cause hemorrhage or severe bleeding. This can be life-threatening, and it requires medical attention. First aid training enables individuals to get prepared to handle such medical emergencies. The main goal of first aid is to preserve lives, prevent any further harm, and promote the recovery of an injured person. The course covers simple life-saving steps that can quickly learn and performed by non-experts using basic first aid equipment.

What is External Bleeding?

External bleeding is usually associated with open injury. There are many different types of wounds and open injuries that can break the continuity of the skin, such as abrasions, hematoma, lacerations, excoriation, incision, puncture wounds, and gunshot wounds. Although puncture wound doesn’t bleed much, they carry a high risk of infection.

Once the bleeding occurs, our body begins a complex chain of events immediately. The brain, lungs, and heart will try to compensate for the blood loss to maintain the supply of oxygen-rich blood in the body.  These represent the body attempting to maintain perfusion to the vital organs by constricting peripheral blood vessels. Therefore, first aid responders should be competent in dealing with major blood loss.

CPR AED and First Aid Certification. Get certified Now with the latest AHA guidelines.

Takes less than 20 minutes. learn more

external bleeding

What are the Signs and Symptoms of External Bleeding?

Even a small injury can result in severe external bleeding, depending on where it is on the body. The presence of blood is an easy way to spot external bleeding. Common signs of external bleeding include:

Try your knowledge with Practice Test

The injured person is treated depending on their location and type of bleeding. Some minor injuries are manageable through the first aid kit. In other significant cases, administer the basic CPR steps and in some cases, also may require surgery. The priority is always to dial 911 and call emergency medical services when a life-threatening accident occurs.

Also Read- 5 Common CPR Side Effects That Everyone Should Know

What is the First Aid Procedure to Stop External Bleeding?

external bleeding treatment

If you are at the scene of an accident and someone is suffering from severe external bleeding, what should you do after calling Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

1. To avoid infection, wash your hands and put on protective gloves.

2. Lay the person down and keep them warm by using a blanket to prevent heat loss. The bleeding organ should be above the head to lower the blood flow and loss of blood.

3. With protective gloves, remove any dirty and external materials from the wound. Avoid removing deeply embedded objects from the injury and leave them to a medical specialist. Doing so may worsen the bleeding you are trying to stop.

4. Apply pressure on the wound using a clean cloth or gauze for about 20 minutes without taking it away until the bleeding stops. You can maintain the pressure by binding using a sterile bandage, adhesive tape, or a fresh piece of cloth. When the material you are using soaks, don’t remove it. Instead, add more absorbent material on top of it.

5. If the bleeding persists while applying pressure on the wound, apply pressure on the artery delivering blood to the injured part. Keep your fingers flat as you press the artery against the bone. (First aid training offers skills on the location of arteries in the body.) As you do so, the other hand should maintain the pressure on the wound.

6. Immobilize the victim as soon as bleeding stops and rush them to the emergency room. For severe bleeding, apply a tourniquet. Seek medical attention right away.

Take a Free Basic First Aid Practice Test and prepare yourself for the official certification exam.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What will you use to protect yourself from the blood if someone is bleeding?

Protect yourself by wearing disposable gloves and covering any wounds on your hands. Then, use a pad such as a clean cloth, t-shirt, or bandage to apply pressure to the wound. If you don’t have anything absorbent, just use your fingers.

How can a rescuer recognize that a victim is experiencing a traumatic arterial bleed?

We categorize injuries according to their causes. Mechanical injuries result from a penetrating force, cut, crush, or blow. Thermal injuries result from heat or cold. Electrical injuries occur from the electricity of natural lightning—finally, damages arising from ionizing radiation.

When should a tourniquet be applied?

Tourniquets should be used when direct pressure alone cannot stop the bleeding or if direct pressure cannot be effectively applied for any reason. Heavy and uncontrolled bleeding can cause death within minutes, so it’s necessary to act fast when dealing with a traumatic wound.

What are the pressure points to stop bleeding?

There are two major pressure points in the body. Suppose the bleeding is from the leg, press with the heel of one hand on the femoral artery in the groin, where the leg bends at the hip. If the bleeding is from the arm, squeeze the brachial artery located on the inside of the upper arm.


Any medical situation that involves heavy bleeding can create fear and stress. Traumatic injuries can occur to anyone at any time. Thus, today everyone should have the basic knowledge of CPR and first aid. First aid training programs do not issue any restrictions or minimum qualifications. The procedures are easy to follow; however, without the proper guidance, you wouldn’t know what to do in case of an emergency. Online first aid certification is convenient as you can take it from anywhere at your convenience.

Enroll Now for Online CPR/AED and First Aid Training and Certification at just $34.95.