All bleeding eventually stops…

How to stop the bleeding
Apply direct, focused pressure to the area. The tendency is to take a big handful of gauze or a t-shirt and apply pressure to a broad area. Ideally, use two fingers with a small amount of gauze to push firmly and directly on the bleeding area. If you are not the patient, use gloves or plastic bag to protect yourself. Do not check every 10 seconds to see if the bleeding has stopped. It will take time for a clot to form so wait at least a few minutes prior to checking. If it has not stopped bleeding, repeat the process with more pressure for a longer time.

Arterial Bleeding
If you see true, arterial bleeding (think squirting blood for several feet) that does not stop with pressure you should consider a tourniquet.  Commercial tourniquets are best but you can make one with other materials such as a bandana and solid stick as a windlass. Record the time you put the tourniquet on. If a tourniquet goes on you need to seek medical care immediately.  VIDEO? NOTE: Tourniquets save lives but be sure it is an arterial bleed as many bleeds that are pulsing (not spurting) are actually venous.

After the bleeding has stopped
Clean the area gently (plain water is fine) and apply a dressing. Consider having band aids, steri strips and some gauze and tape in your drop bag for this. You may get some return of bleeding as you return to exercise so you may need to occasionally repeat the process.

After the race
If the wound is large and gaping, seek medical attention as you may need stitches. The sooner the better as wounds that are open longer are at increased risk of infection and scarring.  If the wound does not need stitches, clean it thoroughly with soap and water, apply a dressing and monitor for signs of infections such as increased redness, warmth, foul drainage or fever.


These are common with dry air and increased air movement that are a part of running. While they can look scary they are not usually dangerous.  If larger bleeding tilt the head forward and apply firm pressure, squeezing the sides of the nostrils (not the bridge of the nose) together using thumb and finger or “prayer position”. Again do not check every 10 seconds but wait at least several minutes to give time to clot.  If there is not heavy bleeding you can put a pledget or small wad of toilet paper in the nose and leave it in while you continue running for a short while.  If you are prone to nosebleeds, consider applying a thin layer of Vaseline or similar inside your nose to help prevent drying and subsequent bleeding.

Prayer position for a nosebleed


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