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  • Writer's pictureSasha

Tips to stop the bleed

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Bleeding has three major types which are venous, arterial, and capillary bleeding. These different types of bleeding are different based on their location, how the blood flows, and how severe they are.

Arterial bleeding

Arterial bleeding occurs in the arteries used to transport blood from the heart to other parts of the body, and it comes out in spurts and pulses that are usually in sync with the heartbeat. It can be a result of a penetrating injury, damage to organs or blood vessels, or blunt trauma. This type of bleeding is the most severe, and when someone experiences this type of bleeding, applying pressure can help initially, but they need to receive medical attention immediately.

The blood that comes out of the arteries is usually distinctive from that of other types of bleeding. The blood in this type of bleeding is bright red because it contains oxygen. It can be difficult to control this type of bleeding because the pressure from the heart beating will not easily clot or stop.

Venous bleeding

Venous bleeding is the type of bleeding in the veins that transport blood back to the heart. This type of bleeding flows steadily and is not as forceful as the spurts in the arterial bleeding since the veins are not under direct pressure. Applying pressure can also initially help with this type of bleeding. Venous bleeding may not be as severe as arterial bleeding, but it could also be life-threatening, and it also requires immediate medical attention.

Treating both arterial bleeding and venous bleeding involves the same steps, and these steps include:

  • The first step is to pressurize the wound that is the source of the bleeding with your hand, which should be covered with a latex glove and sterile gauze. You should also contact your emergency service to get professional medical help.

  • If the pressure successfully stops the bleeding, you can then cover the wound using a sterile gauze dressing with a bandage to keep putting pressure on the wound.

  • If the bleeding is coming out of an artery in the leg or arm, raising that part of the body above the heart level might also be helpful.

  • If all the efforts you put into stopping the bleeding prove futile, you might want to apply a tourniquet above the bleeding wound as a last resort.

Capillary bleeding

Capillary bleeding occurs in the capillaries, which are tiny blood vessels connecting the arteries to the vein. It is the most common type of bleeding, and it is more common and less severe than the two previously mentioned. It normally happens because of an injury to the skin. This type of injury can be controlled easily by applying pressure, and its control is this easy because it comes out of blood vessels on the surface, not from deep inside the body. Unlike the arterial bleeding that comes out in spurts and the venous bleeding that flows, the capillary bleeding oozes out of the injured part of the body.

The processes involved in treating this type of bleeding are

  • The first step in this process is to use soap and water to clean the wound. You can also use a cleanser that is not toxic to the cells.

  • To remove contaminants, you may need to rinse the wound under pressure. This will also help to prevent infections.

  • The final step is to apply pressure to the wound using a hand covered in latex gloves and sterile dressing. As already stated above, pressure is normally sufficient to control the bleeding.

First aid

Below are the first aid recommendations provided by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) for the treatment of bleeding from an injury

  • Call your emergency service such as 911 and request professional medical services.

  • Remove any clothing on the person so that you can locate the wound that is the source of the bleeding.

  • The next step is to stop the bleeding, and you can do this by applying pressure to the wound using a sterile bandage. If there is no first aid kit present, you can also use a clean cloth and apply the pressure with both hands.

  • If the injury is on the arm or leg and it is bleeding heavily, apply a tourniquet to the limb if you have a first aid kit available.

  • If the tourniquet is unavailable, you can pack the injury using a cloth and then steadily apply pressure. You can also do this if the bleeding is coming out of the neck, shoulder, or groin


Uncontrolled bleeding has been stated as the top reason for preventable deaths by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). However, with the steps mentioned above, you can help someone stay alive long enough to receive the appropriate medical attention if need be.

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