How to Stop Bleeding

Health, Home & Family
on May 7, 2012

It’s easy to cut or graze your skin in the course of an average day. Whether you’re a slightly over-zealous shaver or a boisterous child in the park, minor cuts and grazes can happen, but most can easily be treated at home. If your cut is very deep or severe or if you have a serious underlying medical condition, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Otherwise, follow these tips to stop the bleeding from small cuts, nicks or grazes and to stop infection.

Apply direct pressure. According to the National Institutes of Health, you will be able to stop most external bleeding by applying direct pressure. This is the most important first aid step, but you must always ensure that you wash your hands first to prevent infection. Apply direct, firm pressure to the wound with a clean bandage or towel. Hold the pressure continuously for at least 10 minutes and try not to keep removing the pressure to see if the bleeding has stopped, as this can actually dislodge the clot that is forming.

Shaving cuts. Shaving cuts can be sore and, although normally very small, can bleed very heavily. Stop bleeding from a shaving cut by using a dab of Vaseline jelly. This ointment seals the nick and allows the blood clot to form. A cotton swab soaked in witch hazel or an ice cube dabbed on the wound will cause the blood vessels to constrict, which will slow the blood flow and also allow a clot to form.

Home remedies. Some simple substances found around the home can be very effective at stopping the bleeding from minor cuts and grazes. Dab the wound with a clean cloth, soaked in salted warm water. A tea bag rinsed in warm water also can be held against the cut or graze for a short time. The wound will quickly stop bleeding, thanks to the tannic acid in the tea bag. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers are using tannic acid as part of a new product to help stop serious bleeding.

This article was originally published as How to Stop the Bleeding on