Wait, is that blood?
Someone has a cut on his hand and it's bleeding. So you apply direct pressure and keep the hand elevated, right?
If you answered yes, then you just got that half right. Elevating a bleeding limb is no longer recommended in first aid treatment under the new Singapore Resuscitation and First Aid Council (SRFAC). Regardless of severity, almost all bleeding can be controlled. If severe bleeding is allowed to continue, it can lead to shock and eventually death. While it is important to stop bleeding, remember the ABCs and check first for something more serious.
To get an accurate assessment of what type of bleeding it is, look at its colour and how it's leaving the body.
Capillaries: Bleeding from capillaries, which are the smallest blood vessels, looks like a trickle and will usually stop on its own.
Veins: A consistent blood flow and blood that's a dark red colour is most likely coming from the veins. It can range from mild to severe bleeding.
Arteries: Arteries carry a lot of oxygen and are the largest blood vessels. This type of injury usually causes bright red blood to spurt. Blood can be lost really quickly from this type of bleed.
✓ Apply direct pressure to the wound using a gloved hand and place a clean dressing over the wound as soon as possible.
✓ Direct Pressure can help control minor to moderate bleeding.
✓ Apply a bulky pad extending beyond the edges of the wound, and bandage firmly. If bleeding continues, leave the dressing in place and bandage another one on top.
✓ Do not disturb the pads or bandages once bleeding is controlled.
✓ Call 995 for SCDF.
✓ Perform the Primary Survey.
✓ Lay the casualty down and raise the casualty’s legs above the level of the heart, unless there is a fracture of the lower limb, pelvis, head or spinal injury.
✓ Loosen tight clothing.
✓ DO NOT leave the casualty unattended at any time. Monitor the casualty and record the vital signs at regular intervals.
✓ Commence chest compressions and use the AED if the casualty is not breathing. ✓ Give nothing by mouth and reassure the casualty.
If a foreign body is embedded in the wound
DO NOT remove it but apply padding on either side of the object and build it up to avoid pressure on the foreign body.
Hold the padding firmly in place with a roller bandage or folded triangular bandage applied in a criss-cross method to avoid pressure on the object.
Keep the patient at total rest
Even if the injury involves the arm or upper part of the body, the patient should rest in a position of greatest comfort for at least 10 minutes to help control the bleeding.
Seek medical assistance
If the wound appears to be minor and the patient is able to travel by car, arrange an urgent appointment with a local doctor to assess and treat the injury.
If the injury is severe or the patient is very unwell – call 995 for SCDF as soon as possible.
While waiting for help to arrive, observe the patient closely for any change in condition.
If blood leaks through the pressure pad and bandage
Apply a second pad over the first. Use a tea towel or similar bulky fabric and apply maximum pressure to the area.
For major uncontrolled bleeding quickly remove the blood-soaked pad and bandage and replace with a fresh bulky pad and bandage. The continuing bleeding may be due to the pad slipping out of position when the first bandage was applied.
An abrasion (graze)
How you can help
Gently clean with soapy water or saline. If there are pieces of gravel embedded in the wound, ask the patient to try to remove them while the area is soaking in soapy water.
Dry the area well by blotting with gauze swabs or a pad of tissues.
If a protective dressing is necessary, apply a non-adherent sterile dressing and fix it in place with a light roller bandage or tape.
This year, we are giving Singaporeans and permanent residents the first-ever Singapore First Aid Instructor course.
This is the first of its type and has been authorized and validated jointly by the Singapore Resuscitation and First Aid Council (SRFAC)
Do contact us at