In any emergency or injury, internal bleeding should always be considered. Many people are unaware of the serious effects of this medical condition and even take it for granted because of the absence of any visible signs and symptoms.
Although internal bleeding does not show any obvious signs of blood loss, the circulatory system suffers deficiency of blood and therefore can go into shock. Furthermore, this condition can also cause a build-up of pressure in certain parts of the body such as the heart or the skull. If not treated, severe internal bleeding can lead to serious damage to the affected organs, loss of consciousness, and even death.
Internal bleeding is classified into two: visible and concealed. Visible internal bleeding usually result in bruises or bluish discoloration over the affected area. Meanwhile, concealed internal bleeding does not produce any direct signs of bleeding.
Signs and Symptoms
Unlike external bleeding which result in obvious signs, internal bleeding is often difficult to diagnose because of the delayed development of symptoms. In most cases, the first aid provider will need to obtain a complete history of the illness or incident before an internal bleeding is ruled out, with further exploratory tests done at the emergency department.
- History of an accident, injury or internal medical condition
- Hard, tender, board-like stomach (most common if the internal bleeding occurs inside the stomach area)
- Blood in the vomit, feces or from body orifices
However, it is possible for the casualty to have no signs and symptoms at all but this does not always reflect the person’s condition. Even if the victim looks and feels alright after an accident or medical emergency, he or she still needs to be seen by a healthcare provider to check for possible internal bleeding. Certain critical signs and symptoms develop very slowly and show up days after the incident. On the other hand, severe internal bleeding can lead to obvious signs and symptoms with the casualty gradually deteriorating.
Sites of Bleeding
Internal bleeding can occur in any part of the body but parts with rich blood supply are more vulnerable, particularly organs in the stomach such as the liver and spleen and the intestines. It can also accompany fracture of large bones, especially bones that are adjacent to arteries such as the thigh bone or femur. Broken bones can severe these arteries causing life-threatening bleed.
First Aid Treatment
If internal bleeding is suspected, the goal is to get medical assistance and bring the casualty to the emergency department immediately. In most instances, the first aid provider can only provide treatment for shock.
- Assist the person in lying down or position of comfort, and raise the legs slightly higher than the heart.
- Keep the casualty warm and provide reassurance.
- Provide treatment for external bleeding.
- Monitor and record breathing and pulse. This would help the emergency medical staff in determining the extent of the bleeding.
If the casualty is unconscious or becomes unconscious, place him or her in recovery position, open the airway, and monitor breathing and pulse. Be ready to provide resuscitation if necessary.
First Aid Training
To learn more about managing victims of bleeding and to receive “hands on” training and certification enrol into a first aid program through a credible provider. All the information provided here is covered in detail in any standard first aid program (2 day course).
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