When bleeding is severe, it can be dramatic and distressing. If
someone’s bleeding isn’t controlled quickly, they may lose a lot of
blood, become unresponsive or develop shock. Shock does not mean
emotional shock; it 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 monitor them in case they
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's 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.
1. Press it: apply direct pressure to the wound
2. Call 999/112 for emergency help
3. Firmly secure dressing with a bandage
4. Treat for shock
5. Support the injured part