DEFINITION : To lose blood from the blood vessels. This can occur internally, externally through a natural opening (such as the vagina), or externally through a break in the skin.
CONSIDERATIONS : Direct pressure will stop most external bleeding. Bruises usually result from a blow or a fall. They are dark, discolored areas on the skin. Apply a cool compress to the area as soon as possible to reduce swelling. Do not put ice directly on the skin. The amount of blood is not a good way to judge the severity of an injury. Serious injuries don't always bleed heavily, and some relatively minor injuries (for example, scalp wounds) bleed profusely. The blood of people who take blood-thinning medication or who have a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia may not clot easily. Always wash your hands before (if possible) and after giving first aid to avoid the risk of infection and transmission of disease. If possible, use latex gloves before giving first aid. Puncture wounds, which usually don't bleed very much, are dangerous because of the risk of infection. Seek medical care to prevent tetanus or other infection. Abdominal wounds can be very serious because of the possibility of severe internal bleeding which may not be obvious externally, but which may result in shock. Seek medical care immediately if internal bleeding is suspected. If organs have been displaced by the wound, do not try to reposition them; cover the injury with a dressing, and do not apply more than very gentle pressure to stop the bleeding. Always seek emergency assistance if internal bleeding is suspected. This can rapidly become life-threatening. Immediate medical intervention may be needed to stop the bleeding; this can range from medications and intravenous fluids, to use of an internal scope (endoscope), to surgery. Seek emergency assistance for severe bleeding, loss of a body part, or head injury if appropriate.
CAUSES : Damage to a blood vessel causes bleeding, which can range from minor to life-threatening.
SYMPTOMS : Internal: - abdominal pain - swollen abdomen - dizziness or lightheadedness after an injury - external bleeding through a natural opening - signs of shock (see below) External through a natural opening: - blood in the stool (can appear black or bright red) - blood in the urine - vaginal bleeding (heavier than usual or for a prolonged time) - blood in the vomit (looks bright red, or brown like coffee-grounds) External - blood coming from an open wound - bruising Shock - paleness - clammy skin - bluish lips and finger nails - decreasing alertness - rapid pulse (heart rate) - low blood pressure - confusion - weakness.
DO NOT : -DO NOT APPLY A TOURNIQUET TO control BLEEDING, EXCEPT AS A LAST RESORT; DOING SO MAY CAUSE MORE HARM THAN GOOD. - DO NOT probe a wound or pull out any embed object from a wound. This will usually cause more bleeding and harm. - DO NOT try to clean a large wound. This can cause heavier bleeding. - DO NOT remove a dressing if it becomes soaked with blood. Instead, add a new one on top. - DO NOT peek at a wound to see if the bleeding is stopping. The less a wound is disturbed, the more likely it is that you'll be able to control the bleeding. - DO NOT try to clean a wound after you get bleeding under control. Get medical help. CALL IMMEDIATELY FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE IF - the bleeding can't be controlled or is associated with a serious injury. - the wound might need stitches, or if embed gravel or dirt cannot be removed easily with gently cleaning. - internal bleeding or shock is suspected. - signs of infection develop including increased pain, redness, swelling, discharge, swollen lymph nodes, fever, or red streaks spreading from the site toward the heart. (This is usually treated with topical or oral antibiotics; if untreated an infection can cause a skin abscess or other complications). FIRST AID :
PREVENTION : - Use good judgment and keep knives and sharp objects away from small children. - Stay up-to-date on vaccinations. Generally, the tetanus immunization (vaccine) is renewed every 10 years. Immunization is indicated at 5 years if the person has had 2 or fewer prior immunizations; the wound is heavily contaminated (foreign material); or there is extensive crush injury or devitalized tissue.
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