Immediate steps to take to stop or slow bleeding before emergency help arrives.


If a cut is deep and may have penetrated through the skull, emergency treatment is needed. Call 911 or other emergency services immediately. Do not apply pressure if:
The skull is deformed. Signs of deformity may include sunken areas, visible bone fragments, or exposed brain.
Do not attempt to stop any blood or clear fluid that may be draining from the nose or ears.
If emergency care is not needed, the following steps will protect the wound and protect you from another person's blood.


Wash your hands well with soap and water (if available).
Put on medical gloves before applying pressure to the wound. If gloves are not available, use many layers of fabric or plastic bags between your hand and the wound. Use your bare hands to apply pressure only as a last resort.
Have the person lie down.
Remove any visible objects from the wound. Do not attempt to clean out the wound.
Remove or cut clothing from around the wound. Remove any jewelry from the general area of the head or neck.
Press firmly on the wound (but not on an injured eye) with a clean cloth or the cleanest material available. If there is an object in the wound, apply pressure around the object, not directly over it.
Apply steady pressure for a full 15 minutes. Use a clock to time the 15 minutes. It can seem like a long time. Resist the urge to peek after a few minutes to see if bleeding has stopped. If blood soaks through the cloth, apply another one without lifting the first.
If after 15 minutes of steady pressure minimal bleeding recurs when the pressure is released, reapply direct pressure to the wound for another 15 minutes. Direct pressure may be applied up to three times (total of 45 minutes) for minimal bleeding. If bleeding (more than just oozing small amounts of blood) continues after 15 minutes of direct pressure, use the Check Your Symptoms section of this topic to determine your next steps.
If moderate to severe bleeding has not significantly slowed or stopped after 15 minutes, continue to apply firm pressure and elevate the area that is bleeding.
Watch for shock.
This material is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the medical advice of your doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult with your physician if you are in any way concerned about your health.

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