Trigger warning: This page deals with caring for wounds, and therefore uses medical words that might upset some people.
When you need to SI please find a safe place where you will not be disturbed and that you feel calm in, always use new blades where you can and have your first aid kit ready to hand. LifeSIGNS does not encourage the use of self injury, we simply accept that self injury is a coping method for some people at this time, and we do encourage people who are determined to self injure to do it in as safe and controlled way as possible to minimise harm.
The main points when considering first aid after cutting is that you must control the bleeding and prevent any possible infection.
If you lose a great deal of blood, you can go into shock. This can get pretty serious as the brain and heart can be deprived of much needed blood.
Once the urge to cut yourself has passed and you can concentrate on treating your injuries you need to be sure to:
- Assess the damage. If blood is pumping out from the injured area, in time to your heartbeat then this means you have cut through an artery as blood is under high pressure when pumped from the heart- therefore immediate direct-pressure is needed, and you must not remove pressure at all for at least 3-5 minutes – consider calling an ambulance;
- When the area of the wound is particularly large then try and press the edges together to prevent further damage;
- The bleeding needs to be controlled to make sure blood loss is minimal. Cover the wound with a clean dressing and apply direct pressure to prevent bleeding;
- When blood trickles or oozes out of a wound then it is a less immediately serious injury, but veins, tendons and nerves may still have suffered damage;
- If the area of injury is on a limb then raise the limb to reduce blood flow to the area, reducing blood loss and allowing time for a blood clot to form.
When direct pressure is not appropriate, such as when something is stuck in the would, then you may use indirect pressure by pressing the would together – do not remove the object, but call for an ambulance. Some people suggest using a tourniquet to give indirect pressure and reduce blood loss, but using a tourniquet requires a lot of skill and so you should call for medical assistance.