Listed below are some general principles of emergency care that apply to the majority of open wounds. If possibly serious, seek medical attention immediately.

Note: (In order to avoid health risks, please be sure to put on latex or rubber gloves.  If either is not available, try to find a clean, plastic bag to cover your hands.)

  • Control Bleeding - Start with direct pressure of direct pressure and elevation. When necessary, use pressure points. Do NOT use a tourniquet 
  • Clear the wound surface. You may need to expose the wound (cut the clothing if needed). (Do not clean the wound; simply remove foreign matter from its surface. Proper wound cleaning often is best done by medical staff.) Brush large debris away with a sterile dressing. 
  • Prevent Further Contamination - Use a sterile dressing, if possible. When none is available, use the cleanest cloth material at the scene 
  • Bandage the Dressing in Place  - Do not remove blood-soaked cloth. Put additional material over it. 
  • Reassure the patient - will decrease patient's pulse rate and blood pressure and may reduce bleeding rate. 
  • Treat for shock
    Ensure an adequate airway, control bleeding, reassure the patient, have the patient lie down with feet elevated, prevent loss of body heat (but do not overheat), give nothing by mouth, monitor patient

Additional information