First Aid: Bleeding Arm

If a person bleeds from his or her arm due to a severe wound, what should we do? What are the first aid measures?

It is very important that the bleeding stops and that the victim stays conscious. You should lay down the victim in a supine position. A “supine position” means lying flat with the face up. Then apply pressure on the site of the bleeding while raising the arm upwards. When the arm is raised, use a clean towel or tissue paper and place it on the bleeding spot. And hold on continuous pressure for the longest period of time. It could take ten to twenty minutes. Don’t keep checking whether the bleeding has stopped. Just keep applying pressure. You should keep the injured arm raised and make sure that the fingers do not turn blue. When possible, use latex gloves or a clean plastic bag to protect yourself from the blood.

If the bleeding is profuse, this means that an artery is injured. And this means that we should stop the bleeding from the main artery in the upper arm. This should only be done if the bleeding is profuse and it doesn’t stop when you apply pressure on the local site.

Now imagine that you’re going to shake hands with the victim. So you’re going to use the hand of the side that is same as that of the injured arm. Go with the heel of your hand against the victims elbow and use your thumb to try to locate the site of the artery. Once you feel the position squeeze against the bone with your thumbs to stop the blood flow to the arm. Now, while keeping pressure on the site of the wound keep pressing with the thumb. So you have two points of pressure now.

While you’re doing this someone should be calling the ambulance while you all wait for the help of paramedics.

Now suppose that you want to transport the victim to a nearby hospital and you should dress the bleeding wound, let me show you what to do. To dress a wound you will need gauze to be placed directly on the wound and an adhesive bandage. And here’s how to dress a wound. First of all tear the gauze pack from the middle on the two sides. Now hold it firmly at one side while packed and pull the other half open. Place it on the wound and avoid touching the surface that faced the wound. Place your hand on top of the gauze to stabilize it, then pull out the other half of the package and make sure that you didn’t touch the surface facing the wound.

And now it’s time to apply the gauze roll. Open a sterile gauze roll and place it near the wound distally – “distally” means away from the heart – and you should be moving towards the heart while rolling up. Now start wrapping the gauze around the wound in the direction towards the heart. Keep observing that the fingers are remaining red and not turning blue. The best way to prevent this is that you should not apply too much pressure. Otherwise you will have blue fingers. Try to cover around the wound in a fit rather than a tight manner. As you can see how the wound is covered now, please remember that the end point is closer to the heart. It is up to you to decide whether you would like to cut the gauze or continue till the end. That’s mainly according to the severity of the bleeding.

After you finish either put the free end under the tight gauze or better use a piece of adhesive bandage to secure it in place.

While transporting the victim, make sure that their arm is raised as long as possible to minimize the bleeding.

I wish you good health!

Alyaa Gad