The Importance Of Direct Pressure During First Aid

Fact Checked
First Aid Training Room
First Aid Training Room

In giving first aid, there are a number of considerations that must be made depending on the type of injury exhibited. One of the most common techniques that you will be required to use is that of applying direct pressure. In fact, this is ranked as one of the top first aid skills that one must have. This is not to say that other techniques are not important, it is just that with a number of injuries, some techniques cut across the board. So, what is the importance of applying pressure directly in case of injury? Below are some of the tips that you would need to know in order to get the most out of such a procedure.

[youtube url=”″ width=”200″ height=”200″]

Direct pressure is relevant in the treatment of bleeding in the victim. It is the best form of first aid for bleeding injuries, and it involves the following steps:

i)                    The first aider first puts on their glove. This is a critical phase because it prevents the transmission of diseases through handling of fresh blood. Disposable gloves are easily available and are actually a requirement in first aid kits today.

ii)                   The hand with the glove on is then placed on the site of injury. Force is exerted on the region to prevent bleeding.

iii)                 Even with severe bleeding, it is important to take note that one needs about 4 pounds of pressure for every square inch. Why is this so in direct pressure? To make this easy to understand, you would have to grasp basic comprehension of blood circulation. The pressure of blood within the body is measured in millimeters of mercury equivalent to 0.193psi, which is why it is denoted as mmHg. Granted that your blood vessels do not equal 1 square inch, the pressure required would be significantly less.

iv)                 With this understanding, it is safe to say that when applying direct pressure, you need only squeeze until bleeding from the site of injury ceases.

v)                  To understand the relevance of applying pressure directly, this article highlights 3 common types of bleeding:

–          Capillary bleeding occurs when the blood simply flows out as is the case when you bruise your knee. While this does not pose challenges with massive blood loss, it creates the possibility of infection, and must therefore be treated appropriately.

–          The second type of bleeding is venous bleeding which typically flows from the veins. This type of blood is dark red, thanks to the lack of oxygen. This form of bleeding is easy to control using direct pressure because the venous blood is not pumped at a high pressure.

–          The third type of bleeding is known as arterial bleeding, which, just as the name suggests involves the spurting of arterial blood. Due to the high pressure with which oxygenated blood is pumped in the artery, this type of bleeding must be addressed immediately to prevent loss of blood. Direct pressure in this case becomes very critical if the victim is to survive.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional