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Nosebleed infographic
11 Jul 2016

What should you do if someone is bleeding

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Have you ever wondered what you would do if someone was bleeding? Here is our quick helpful guide.

What happens when someone is bleeding?

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 nose, they may find it hard to breathe, so you should keep a close eye on them in case they become unconscious.

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.



  • Sit down and firmly pinch the soft part of your nose, just above your nostrils, for at least 10-15 minutes.
  • Lean forward and breathe through your mouth – this will drain blood down your nose instead of down the back of your throat.
  • Place an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables covered by a towel on the bridge of your nose. 
  • Stay upright, rather than lying down as this reduces the blood pressure in the blood vessels of your nose and will discourage further bleeding.




What to do – severe bleeding

  1. Your priority is to stop the bleeding.
  2. Protect yourself by wearing gloves if possible.
  3. If the wound is covered by the casualty’s clothing, remove or cut the clothes to uncover the wound.


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 and bandage around it.


No object in the wound

  • Put direct pressure on the wound with your fingers, using a sterile dressing if possible, to stop blood escaping.
  • Raise and support the part of the body that’s injured so that it’s above the heart. This will reduce the flow of blood to the wound and help stop the bleeding.
  • Treat them for shock: lay them down with their head low and their legs raised and supported.
  • Firmly wrap a bandage around the pad or dressing on top of the wound to control the bleeding. Make it firm enough to maintain pressure but not so tight that it restricts their circulation.
  • If blood shows through the pad or dressing, don’t remove it: apply a second dressing on top of the first one. If blood then seeps through both dressings, remove both of them and replace them with a fresh dressing. When changing dressings, make sure you keep pressure applied to where the bleeding is coming from.
  • If you can, support the injured area in a raised position. For example, you can rest a leg on some cushions, or for an arm you can make a sling.
  • Keep checking the casualty’s breathing and level of response.
  • If they lose consciousness at any point, open their airway, check their breathing, and prepare to treat someone who has become unconscious.


Our First Aid courses cover what to do in a situation when someone is bleeding, check our our first aid training page for more info.