When bleeding is severe, it can be dramatic and distressing. If
someone’s bleeding isn’t controlled quickly, they may develop shock
and lose consciousness. Shock does not mean emotional shock, but is
a life-threatening condition, often caused by loss of blood.
If someone’s bleeding from their mouth or nose, they may find it
hard to breathe, so you should keep a close eye on them in case
they become unresponsive.
If there’s an object in their wound, don't press directly onto
it, as it will hurt, but leave it in there and bandage around
With all open wounds, there’s a risk of infection, so wash your
hands and use gloves (if you have any) to help prevent any
infection passing between you both.
Poster download: What
to do if an adult is bleeding
Watch our video - severe bleeding
What you need to do - severe bleeding
Your priority is to stop the bleeding. Protect yourself by
If the wound is covered by the casualty's clothing, remove or
cut the clothes to uncover the wound.
If there an object in the wound
If there’s an object in there, don’t pull it out, because it may
be acting as a plug to reduce the bleeding. Instead, leave it in
and apply pressure either side of it with a pad (such as a clean
cloth) or fingers, until a sterile dressing is available.
If there's no object in the wound
Follow the steps below for treating severe bleeding.