Injuries that result in bleeding are very common, but even the minor bleeding caused by cuts and scrapes needs to be stopped.
Often these injuries can be treated at home, but it is important that a person knows how to do this safely. Whoever is treating the wound should wash their hands and wear latex gloves if possible.
In this article, we look at eight home remedies that stop minor bleeding.
Applying pressure to the wound is the best way to stop it bleeding.
Place a clean and dry piece of material such as a bandage, towel, or cloth on the wound and apply pressure with both hands.
Maintain firm and continuous pressure until the bleeding has stopped.
Checking too soon to see if the bleeding has stopped may interfere with the healing process.
Reducing the flow of blood will also help stop the bleeding, so raise the affected area if possible.
If the injury is to the hand or arm, simply raise it above the head. If the injury is to a lower limb, lie down and raise the affected area above the level of the heart.
Applying ice to a wound will constrict the blood vessels, allowing a clot to form more quickly and stop the bleeding.
The best way to do this is to wrap ice in a clean, dry cloth and place it on the wound.
Tea is a popular remedy to treat bleeding after dental work. Place a steeped black teabag that has been allowed to cool in the fridge on the wound.
Using teabags works because tea contains tannins, which are hemostatic, meaning they cause the blood to clot.
Tannins contain astringent, which causes blood vessels to constrict. It is also a kind of antiseptic that kills bacteria and helps the site stay free of infection.
Black tea bags are available for purchase online.
Many cosmetics, including lip balms and Vaseline products, contain petroleum jelly. It contains a blend of oils and waxes that can be used to protect the skin.
Fans of boxing and martial arts may have seen fighters' cuts treated with petroleum jelly. It can also work as a homemade remedy to stop bleeding.
Petroleum jelly is best used to halt the bleeding from shallow cuts. Wipe the skin dry beforehand and clean the wound to remove any remaining jelly after the bleeding has stopped.
A range of petroleum jelly products is available for purchase online.
Witch hazel is a North American shrub that is readily available in pharmacies, some grocery stores, and online, usually in liquid form.
It is known to stop bleeding externally by applying it to the wound. It is important to use distilled witch hazel and to buy it from a reputable source, as the U.S. Food and Drug Association does not regulate complementary medicines.
As well as shrinking sweat glands, the aluminum chloride in antiperspirant may also constrict blood vessels to help a wound clot.
In a 2015 study, aluminum chloride was shown to be a fast and effective way to control minor external bleeding.
The alcohol in mouthwash acts as an astringent and applying it to a wound helps the blood clot more quickly.
Also, aminocaproic acid (Amicar) can help treat bleeding in the mouth caused by dental work. However, try not to swish the liquid around in the mouth, as this can dislodge a clot.
Mouthwash containing alcohol is available for purchase in most pharmacies and online.
Even if the bleeding has stopped, it is important to keep the wound clean to prevent an infection.
Rinse the wound itself with cool water and use soap to wash the surrounding area. Avoid getting soap in the wound.
If possible, remove any dirt or debris inside the wound with tweezers. It is important to clean the tweezers with rubbing alcohol before using them.
There are several types of bleeding that can be deemed life-threatening, including:
- blood that is spurting out of the wound
- blood that will not stop coming out of the wound
- blood that is pooling on the ground
- clothing that is soaked with blood
- bandages that are soaked with blood
- loss of all or part of an arm or leg
- when the bleeding person becomes confused or unconscious
In these cases, seek medical help immediately by calling 9-1-1 or the country's emergency services number.
Even if the bleeding has stopped, a person should visit their doctor if:
- the wound may need stitches
- dirt cannot be removed easily
- there may be internal bleeding or shock
- there are signs of an infection
- the injury was caused by an animal or human bite
- the person has not had a tetanus shot in the last 5 years
Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one preventable cause of death from trauma. Knowing how to stop or control bleeding is therefore very important.
Most cases of minor bleeding can be stopped at home using simple home remedies. Once the bleeding has stopped, minor wounds should be covered with a bandage to prevent infection.