As we are aware, bleeding occurs either through the veins, the arteries or the capillaries.
One has to stem the flow of bleeding so that there isn’t too much of fluid loss. Excessive amount of blood loss can lead to death. One way to stem the flow of blood is by applying pressure on the wound itself. In most case, the flow will subside in a while and the open wound will clot over. However, in certain case, the flow of blood in a bleeding wound cannot be contained through direct pressure and that is a time for concern. Mostly, this will in case where an artery has been severed.
One has to still use pressure to control the bleeding, but the point at which the pressure is applied will change. There are specific pressure points in the body that can be called upon to constrict the artery feeding blood to the exposed wound. Pressure points can be located and indeed are performed at a place where a pulse can be found. This also means that the artery at these points run close to the skin and therefore can be used to control bleeding to the area beyond this point. But the bleeding will only stop if the pressure point is between the heart and the wound itself. Identify the point of bleeding and find the corresponding pressure point.
Also try and keep the area that is bleeding ABOVE the height of the heart.
There are eleven pressure points in the body that you can use.
- If the bleeding is on the head, above the ears, press the point just in front of the ear, in a direct line to the corner of the eyes.
- If the lower part of the face is bleeding, press the point on the jaw bone halfway between the chin and the end of the jaw.
- If bleeding is from the neck, press the point on the carotid artery, located between the Adam’s Apple and neck muscles. Stopping bleeding from here is a matter of life and death.
- If the bleeding is high on the arm, press the point just above the middle of the collar bone. If the bleeding is low on the arm, press the point in the fold opposite the elbow, on the inside of the arm.
- There are two pressure points on the wrists. The first one is more common, where we normally feel our pulse. The other one is just alongside, down from the little finger.
- If the bleeding is from the groin or thighs, find and press the femoral artery. It is located along the bikini line, half way between the hip and the groin. A lot of pressure is required to control the bleeding here, maybe even both your hands, due to the amount of blood that flows through this artery to supply oxygen to the legs.
- The pressure point on the popliteal artery lies behind the knee. Press this to stop bleeding from the lower leg below the knee.
There are significant risks involved in performing pressure point first aid.
Do not apply pressure for more than ten minutes, if that. Using pressure points to control bleeding also means cutting off oxygen to the part of the body that is bleeding. This can result in serious tissue damage. If the carotid artery in the neck is pressed for too long it can lead to brain damage within minutes, or in extreme case, even stop the heart. This is about survival first aid, not about speeding death.