Areas of the body with a lot of blood vessels close to the skin, such as the hands or scalp, tend to bleed heavily when injured. Other wounds that produce a lot of bleeding involve arteries and large veins.
Heavy bleeding is almost always caused by blunt, crushing, or penetrating trauma, such as fractures, puncture wounds, deep cuts, or tears in tissue. Risks of such injuries include infection and rapid blood loss.
You should seek medical treatment for most wounds that produce heavy bleeding. Call 911 immediately if you suspect internal bleeding or if you can’t stop heavy external bleeding. If you need help evaluating a wound with heavy bleeding in Northern California, visit a Dignity Health North State emergency room for personalized treatment. Use our online waiting tool, InQuicker, to select your estimated arrival time to your nearest hospital.
Symptoms Caused by Heavy Internal Bleeding
While external heavy bleeding is obvious, signs of internal bleeding are not always clear. Look for the following signs of trouble if internal bleeding is suspected:
- Cold, clammy skin
- Swollen or painful abdomen
- Bleeding from a body opening — mouth, ear, etc.
- Vomiting or coughing up blood
- Weakness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness
First Aid Treatment Strategies for Heavy Bleeding
Your treatment depends on whether the bleeding is external or internal. Your emergency doctor and staff at Dignity Health North State will quickly create a treatment strategy that meets your needs.
For external heavy bleeding, clear the wound and surrounding area of any loose debris. Do not attempt to remove any object that is embedded in the wound. Try to control the bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth or sterile bandage. Press firmly and maintain pressure on the wound. Avoid putting pressure on the eyes, an object embedded in a wound, or the head if you suspect a skull fracture.
Seek medical care if external bleeding does not stop after five minutes of constant pressure. Call 911 for wounds from severe trauma and suspected internal bleeding. Tend to the person until emergency medical personnel arrives — help him or her to lie down, apply direct pressure to the wound, elevate the legs, and keep him or her warm with a blanket or a jacket.
Learn how to perform CPR and provide other life-saving measures. Take a Dignity Health North State basic life support class at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital. Call (888) 628-1948 for upcoming class dates.
Dignity Health North State provides life-extending emergency services for people experiencing heavy bleeding in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.