- Put your safety first and ensure that you are not in danger.
- If available, wear protective examination gloves.
- If you do not have gloves, you should avoid direct contact with casualty’s blood and use an improvised barrier
- Create a barrier between yourself and the potential source of infection. This can be done by using gloves, or anything that may be available e.g. plastic bags.
B) Locate and Examine
- Reassure the casualty.
- Assess the wound and source of the loss of blood.
- If necessary remove clothing from the casualty to confirm the source of blood loss.
- Check for foreign objects in the wound e.g. glass. If present it must stay in place and not be removed (see Dressing section).
C) External Direct Pressure
- Do not waste precious seconds by attempting to open and apply dressings at this stage.
- With your gloved hand apply external direct pressure to the wound.
- If a foreign object is present, you will have to apply pressure around the object.
- If appropriate, allow the casualty to apply external direct pressure with their free hands.
- If you have not done so already, ensure your casualty is sitting or lying down.
- Whenever possible, the injured body part should be raised, if there are no
- Ideally, elevation particularly with regard to limbs should be above the heart.
- If dealing with the legs, the casualty should lie down with both legs elevated.
- The elevated limb may require support.
- Select a suitable sterile dressing from your first aid box.
- If the dressing is applied to a limb, check the circulation to the hand or foot to ensure the dressing has not been tied too tightly.
- Apply a dressing directly to the wound and bandage it firmly in place.
- Whilst keeping the injury elevated watch for any signs of blood seeping through the dressing.
- If blood seeps through the dressing apply a 2nd dressing on top of the first dressing. If blood seeps through the second dressing, remove both and apply a new dressing.
- If there is a foreign object in the wound leave it in place and build the dressing around the object. Do not apply pressure directly. Call 999 or 112 for major bleeds.
NB – Do not use a tourniquet to prevent blood loss.
F) Blood and Body Fluid Clean-Up
The following precautions should be carried out at all times where a first aider comes into contact with blood or bodily fluids:
- Intact skin is a good barrier to infection, however the first aider should make sure all cuts or open areas are covered.
- If you have accidentally come into contact with blood wash the area with soap and water, seek medical advice.
- If blood has splashed in your eyes or in an open wound / needle stick injury / punctured skin rinse thoroughly with water or eyewash, seek medical advice.
- Should you have any concerns discuss these with your Doctor or Occupational Health Department.
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