1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

How to Control Bleeding

By

Updated April 11, 2014

4 of 4

When Should You Apply a Tourniquet?
How to Control Bleeding

Tourniquets should almost never be used.

© Rod Brouhard
When should you apply a tourniquet? The simple answer: almost never. Tourniquets severely restrict or occlude blood flow to the arm or leg to which they are applied. Using a tourniquet to stop bleeding has the potential to damage the entire arm or leg. Patients have been known to lose limbs from the use of tourniquets.

Often, if a tourniquet doesn't cause a loss of function on the extremity which has it, then it probably wasn't applied correctly. Applying a tourniquet is a desperate move - only for the most dire emergencies where the choice between life and limb must be made.

For a step-by-step guide, see How to Use a Tourniquet.

Using a tourniquet requires wrapping a cravat (non stretchy material like terry cloth or linen) around an extremity and tightening it with the use of a windlass stuck through the bandage (see photo).

The tourniquet should be tightened until the wound stops bleeding. If there is any bleeding at the wound after placing a tourniquet, then the tourniquet must be tightened.

When a tourniquet is applied, it is important to note the time of application and write that time down somewhere handy. The best bet is to write the time on the patient's forehead with a water-proof marker.

Once bleeding is controlled, take steps to treat the victim for shock.

Related Video
How to Dress a Wound
How to Treat A Nosebleed
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. First Aid
  4. Basic First Aid
  5. First Aid Basics
  6. How to Stop Bleeding: Tourniquets

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.