Severe bleeding or hemorrhage is a major cause of shock (hypoperfusion), which can be life threatening if the body loses an excessive amount of blood. If the body loses enough blood, the cells of the body will not receive enough oxygen and begin to die. Once cells begin to die, bigger cells such as organs will also fail and eventually the entire body will fail and death will occur.
There are three types of external bleeding:
Care For External Bleeding
1. After taking infection control precautions for the caregiver, direct pressure is applied to the injury with sterile gauze. If bleeding is profuse or seeps through the gauze, add more gauze, but do not remove the existing pieces. This will prevent the clotting process from being interrupted.
2. If bleeding continues to be severe, the extremity or body part should be elevated above the level of the heart. This will decrease the amount of blood flowing to the injury site by using gravity to help decrease the amount of blood flow.
3. If bleeding continues, add more gauze to the existing dressing and tie a pressure bandage to the site of injury.
4. If direct pressure, elevation, and pressure bandage fail to control bleeding, apply pressure to a pressure point of the injury if it is to an extremity. This will aid in further decreasing the flow of blood to the injury site.
5. A tourniquet should not be used unless the bleeding is so bad the person will die if it is not controlled. This it to be used in rare circumstances and only by trained healthcare professionals. Once a tourniquet is applied, it is not to be removed unless so directed by a physician. You can expect to lose any part of the body past the end of the tourniquet since you have stop all flow of blood to the area.
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