Bleeding can lead to shock. Shock is when your heart can’t keep up with your body’s need for blood - this is very serious and can lead to death very quickly. Even small injuries can cause serious blood loss if they last long enough.
You can’t always see the blood - following trauma a person can bleed inside their head, abdomen, chest, or even just below the skin. With serious bleeding, call 911 before you do anything else. If you’re starting to feel weak or dizzy then you might be losing more blood than you think.
How to control or stop bleeding
- If the bleeding is on an arm or leg, elevate it.
- Apply steady, direct pressure with a cloth, like a t-shirt, for at least 15 minutes.
- If blood soaks through the cloth, apply another one without lifting the first one.
- Because of swelling do not use a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Remove any jewelry - you might not be able to take these off later with swelling.
- Mild bleeding usually stops on its own or slows down - if bleeding continues for a long time, then it’s time to head to urgent care or the ER.
Signs it might be serious - Call 911 right away if you notice any of these:
- Passing out, feeling very dizzy, or lightheaded (feeling like you might pass out).
- Feeling very weak or having trouble standing up.
- Altered mental status - read previous section for more info.
- Cool, clammy, or pale skin.
- Fast heart rate or heavy breathing.
- Nausea or vomiting.