This month's topic will discuss the control of bleeding, now if your like the average human being just thinking about blood makes you wanna yack and if that happens I'm sure you'll lose that heroic image you had hoped to have as a good first aid provider but take my word for it when your rendering care the farthest thing from your mind is pukeing on your lucky pair of racing shoes.
Control of Bleeding
In the case of a bleeding wound there are three basic methods of controlling bleeding.
1) Direct Pressure
All bleeding injuries should be covered with a sterile or as clean as possible dressing with a firm but non constricting bandage to hold it in place, (try to avoid using gas covered shop rags it tends to increase the pain somewhat). This will apply direct pressure to the site of the injury. If the dressing becomes blood soaked do not remove it as this will remove any clots that have started to seal off the injury. Place additional dressing over the old dressing and apply slight pressure or have the victim apply pressure to the injury site.
If bleeding continues, raise the injured part 4 to 6 inches above the level of the heart. This method is not to be used in place of direct pressure but in addition to direct pressure. remember make sure the wound has some sort of dressing covering it or they'll have blood raining down on them like a rude summer shower.
3) Pressure Points
Each limb has a major pressure point. Strong pressure at this point works like kinking a garden hose and reduces the flow of blood to the limb below that point.
For the arm the pressure point is on the inside of the arm (towards the body) approximately 3/4 of the way up towards the shoulder above the elbow. This pressure point squeezes the brachial artery and slows blood flow to the lower arm, hand and fingers.
The pressure point for the leg is at the crease where the leg meets the groin towards the midline of the body. Pressure at this point will squeeze the femoral artery and slow blood flow to the entire leg, foot and toes. (This pressure point should only be used by a really really close friend), direct pressure is always the best method of bleeding control.
Tourniquets are rarely necessary and should only be used by medical professionals.
Remember, when rendering care to someone who is bleeding ALWAYS wear latex gloves to protect yourself from exposure to infectious diseases. (We will discuss this topic in more detail in the future)
As with any emergency it is strongly recommended that if you are unsure how serious the emergency is don't hesitate to seek medical attention or 911 if necessary.
This months safety tip:
Many of us have thought about taking a CPR class from time to time but for one reason or another we never seem to go through with it, I can not stress how important this course is, as a medical professional I have looked into the eyes of a lot of people who have said that if they would have only known CPR their family member might still be alive, I have also looked into the eyes of some who have said I'm glad I knew CPR because my family member is alive today because of it.
CPR is not difficult and can be learned in just a couple of hours.Ask yourself this simple question: If my son or daughter, mother or father needed CPR would I know what to do, how would I feel after its all over if I didn't know what to do?
Take the time today and contact your local fire department for information about a CPR class in your area.
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Thank you and until next month always remember Safety First !