Apply pressure to the wound. The majority of external bleeding injuries can be controlled by direct pressure. National Institutes of Health Go to source Therefore, grab something absorptive and preferably clean, such as a sterile gauze pad although it may have to be your own shirt , and place it over the wound while applying significant pressure.
The aim is to plug the wound and promote blood clotting, because blood will not coagulate while freely flowing. Gauze pads or something absorptive such as terrycloth or cotton fabric work well to prevent the blood from escaping the wound. If the gauze, towel, or article of clothing soaks through with blood, add another layer — don't take off the original make-shift bandage.
Peeling off a blood-soaked bandage from the wound removes the quickly forming clotting factors and encourages bleeding to resume. However, if the wound is too severe and the bleeding cannot be stopped with applied pressure, then and only then should you consider a tourniquet.
If left uncontrolled, bleeding will eventually lead to shock, then death. If at all possible, use latex or similar types of gloves while in contact with the blood of another person as it will help stop the transmission of certain diseases. Even if you have to use a tourniquet, leave the make-shift bandage on the wound because it will help promote clotting when the blood flow slows down. Often the combination of pressure and reducing the pull of gravity on the flow of blood in the vessels will be enough to stop the bleeding and allow clot formation.
Calm the injured person down. In any emergency situation, panic is a detriment, so try to calm the person down in a reassuring tone. Prevent them from looking at their wound and the bleeding if you can, as many people are frightened by the sight of blood. It's also important for the person to know that medical help is on the way. Try to make a quick emergency phone call or ask a bystander as soon as you are able. Make the injured person as comfortable as possible while you're giving them help.
Put something padded underneath their head. Part 2 of Select an appropriate material. If you have a well-designed medical tourniquet at your disposal then that's great, but in most emergency situations you'll have to improvise.
In the absence of a specially designed tourniquet, choose something that is strong and pliable although not too stretchy , but long enough to tie around the injured limb.
To minimize cutting into the skin, ensure that the improvised tourniquet is at least an inch wide and preferable two to three inches in width. If the tourniquet is for a finger, a somewhat smaller width is fine, but avoid string, twine, dental floss, wire, etc. In an emergency situation with lots of blood, you need to resign yourself to the fact that you'll be getting blood on your clothes, so don't hesitate to use an article of clothing for a tourniquet.
Apply the tourniquet between the heart and injury. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Sign Up. What are your concerns? Article Sources. Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.
Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Related Articles. Manual of Military Training James A. Word Origin for tourniquet C from French: device that operates by turning, from tourner to turn. A device, typically a tightly encircling bandage, used to check bleeding by temporarily stopping the flow of blood through a large artery in a limb.
Walmart Services. Get to Know Us. Customer Service. In The Spotlight. Shop Our Brands. All Rights Reserved. To ensure we are able to help you as best we can, please include your reference number:.
Thank you for signing up! How was your experience? Cancel Submit. Here's Dr. Sean Bush, an emergency physician in Greenville, N. He was bitten by a copperhead here in North Carolina. His brother applied a tight tourniquet like a belt.
And when he came in, his whole leg was blue.Tourniquet Rapid One Hand Application Emergency or Outdoor First Aid Kit Orange. $ Got one to sell? Get it in front of + million buyers. Make an Offer. Military CAT NAR Combat Application Tourniquet Black Tip New. $ Free shipping.