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Stopping Facial Bleeding

Topic Overview

If emergency care is not needed, the following steps will protect the wound and protect you from another person's blood.

  • Before you try to stop the bleeding:
    • Wash your hands well with soap and water, if available.
    • Put on medical gloves, if available, before applying pressure to the wound. If gloves are not available, use many layers of fabric, plastic bags, or whatever you have between your hands and the wound.
    • Have the person hold his or her own hand over the wound, if possible, and apply pressure and elevate the injured area.
    • Use your bare hands to apply pressure only as a last resort.
  • Have the person lie down with his or her head elevated.
  • Remove any visible objects that are easy to remove.
  • Remove or cut clothing from around the wound. Remove any jewelry from the general area of the wound.
  • Do not attempt to clean out the wound at this point.
  • Press firmly on the facial wound with a clean cloth or the cleanest material available. If there is an object in the wound, apply pressure around the object, not directly over it.
    • Do not press on an injured eye.
    • If you need to press on the neck or throat area to stop bleeding, be careful. Don't interfere with the person's breathing.
    • Apply steady, direct pressure and elevate the area for a full 15 minutes. Use a clock—15 minutes can seem like a long time. Resist the urge to peek after a few minutes to see whether bleeding has stopped. If blood soaks through the cloth, apply another one without lifting the first. If there is an object in the wound, apply pressure around the object, not directly over it.
    • If moderate to severe bleeding has not slowed or stopped, continue direct pressure while getting help. Do all you can to keep the wound clean and avoid further injury to the area.
    • Mild bleeding usually stops on its own or slows to an ooze or trickle after 15 minutes of pressure. It may ooze or trickle for up to 45 minutes.
  • Watch for shock.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
David Messenger, MD
Last Revised April 3, 2013

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