Severe bleeding is a life-threatening emergency. Major blood loss can lead to hemorrhagic shock and the collapse of the cardiovascular system. This First Aid blog will discuss three types of bleeding you may encounter at home, in the workplace, and even in public places.
In medical terms, bleeding is referred to as a ‘hemorrhage.’
How Much Blood is Too Much?
Before we proceed with the three types of bleeding, it is good to know how much bleeding is an emergency.
The average adult ranges having between 8 to 12 pints of blood, depending on their height and body size. Children have less blood (about 1 pint), and they cannot afford to lose the same amount of blood as adults.
If you lose more than 40 per cent of your blood, you can go into hemorrhagic shock, and you will die.
Three Types of Bleeding
These types of bleeding may differ depending on their location, severity, and blood flow. Read on as we discuss three types of bleeding in detail and provide tips for First Aid.
Arterial bleeding is the most severe and the most urgent type of bleeding. It may be from a penetrating injury, blunt trauma, or severe damage to the organs and blood vessels.
Blood comes from the arteries; hence, this type of injury is distinctive from others. The blood may come out as bright red due to it containing oxygen. The blood may also come out in spurts and pulse, which correlates to a person’s heartbeat. Arterial bleeding can be hard to control due to the pressure from the beating heart. This makes it hard for the blood to clot or stop as easily.
Capillary bleeding usually occurs after an injury to the skin, and it is more common than any other type of bleeding. Capillary bleeding oozes from the damaged body part instead of blood spurting out (like in arterial bleeding).
Not only is it the least severe, but capillary bleeding is also the easiest to control as the bleeding comes from the blood vessels. It means that the damage is more on the surface than from deep inside the body.
The blood is coming from a damaged vein, which makes the colour of the blood dark red. The blood flow is steady, but it may come with less force than arterial bleeding. Venous bleeding may be less severe, but it can be life-threatening.
First Aid for Bleeding Injury
The key First Aid treatment for all types of bleeding is applying direct pressure over the wound to control the blood flow. For severe (and serious) bleeding, take the following first aid steps:
- Remove any debris, clothing on the wound. However, do not remove a large or deeply embedded object and do not attempt to clean the wound right away. The priority is to control or stop the bleeding.
- Stop the bleeding. Wear sterile gloves if possible before touching the wound. Place a clean bandage or cloth over the wound and press it firmly with your palm. Apply constant pressure until the bleeding stop or is controlled.
- Maintain pressure on the bleeding injury by binding it with a thick bandage. Secure it in place with adhesive tape. If possible, raise the injured limb above heart level to help with the pain and swelling.
- Do not remove the bandage or gauzes. If the bleeding seeps through the first layer, add another layer on top of it.
- Tourniquets: The use of a tourniquet is effective in controlling life-threatening bleeding. Only apply for a tourniquet if you are professionally trained to do so. When emergency help arrives on the scene, provide a brief explanation of how long the tourniquet has been in place.
- Call Triple Zero (000) immediately for severe bleeding that you are unable to control.
Heavy and severe bleeding is a life-threatening emergency that can result in shock and death. If you or another person experience a severe bleed or suspects internal bleeding, it is critical to receive immediate medical treatment.
Learning First Aid can help attend bleeding injuries and prevent serious complications.