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    Bleeding Cuts or Wounds

    Call 911 if:

    • Bleeding is severe
    • You suspect internal bleeding
    • There is an abdominal or chest wound
    • Bleeding can't be stopped after 10 minutes of firm and steady pressure
    • Blood spurts out of wound

    • Bleeding is severe
    • You suspect internal bleeding
    • There is an abdominal or chest wound
    • Bleeding can't be stopped after 10 minutes of firm and steady pressure
    • Blood spurts out of wound

    1. Stop Bleeding

    • Apply direct pressure on the cut or wound with a clean cloth, tissue, or piece of gauze until bleeding stops.
    • If blood soaks through the material, don’t remove it. Put more cloth or gauze on top of it and continue to apply pressure.
    • If the wound is on the arm or leg, raise limb above the heart, if possible, to help slow bleeding.
    • Wash your hands again after giving first aid and before cleaning and dressing the wound.
    • Do not apply a tourniquet unless the bleeding is severe and not stopped with direct pressure.

    2. Clean Cut or Wound

    • Gently clean with soap and warm water. Try to rinse soap out of wound to prevent irritation.
    • Don’t use hydrogen peroxide or iodine, which can damage tissue.

    3. Protect the Wound

    • Apply antibiotic cream to reduce risk of infection and cover with a sterile bandage.
    • Change the bandage daily to keep the wound clean and dry.

    4. When to Call a Doctor

    • The wound is deep or the edges are jagged or gaping open.
    • The wound is on the person’s face.
    • The wound has dirt or debris that won’t come out.
    • The wound shows signs of infection, such as redness, tenderness, or a thick discharge, or if the person runs a fever.
    • The area around the wound feels numb.
    • Red streaks form around the wound.
    • The person has a puncture wound or deep cut and hasn’t had a tetanus shot in the past five years, or anyone who hasn’t had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on January 21, 2016

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