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How should I care for a major open wound?

A major open wound has serious tissue damage and severe bleeding. To care for a major open wound, you must act at once. Follow these steps:

  • Put on disposable gloves. If you suspect that blood might splatter, you may need to wear eye and face protection.
  • Control bleeding by:
    • Covering the wound with a dressing and firmly pressing against the wound with a gloved hand until the bleeding stops.
    • Applying a pressure bandage over the dressing to maintain pressure on the wound and to hold the dressing in place.
    • If blood soaks through the bandage, do not remove the blood-soaked bandages. Instead, add more dressings and bandages, and apply additional direct pressure.
  • Continue to monitor the person’s condition. Observe the person closely for signs that may indicate that the person’s condition is worsening, such as faster or slower breathing, changes in skin color, and restlessness.
  • Care for shock. Keep the person from getting chilled or overheated.
  • Have the person rest comfortably and provide reassurance.
  • Wash your hands immediately after giving care, even if you wore gloves.

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.