Pressure points can be used in an emergency to reduce circulation to areas in the body. By reducing bleeding, you can enable a patient can survive the wait to receive medical care, as well as prevent a victim from going into shock. In a serious accident, there may be internal bleeding, which cannot be stopped by direct pressure. If the person is vomiting blood, has bruises or other signs of possible bone damage or is bleeding from the genitalia, do not attempt to intervene. If the person has cold, moist skin or seems to be struggling to breathe evenly, the situation could also be life-threatening. Seek immediate urgent medical care. Otherwise, you can begin by helping the person to sit down or lie down. If possible, elevate the affected limb or head above the heart, to reduce blood flow to the wound. Then locate a pulsing sensation at the appropriate pressure point.
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Trace from the outside corner of the eye towards the ear. You will feel a dip near where the ear begins to extend from the head. Press and hold, to confirm you feel a pulse, which indicates the temporal artery.
Trace from the middle of the adam’s apple and stop just before the ropey neck muscles. You should feel a strong pulse here, indicating the carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain. Do not apply pressure for a long time, as this could lead to a loss of consciousness.
Upper Arm/Elbow Wounds
Access the brachial artery on the inner side of the arm, above the elbow bone, between the large upper arm muscles. This may not be as apparent as the carotid artery.
Find the femoral artery in the middle of the bottom crease of the groin, between the groin and the upper thigh. This is also known as the “bikini line.” This artery may require substantial pressure, pressing down with the entire heel of your hand, to reduce its circulation.
Lower Leg Wounds
Press the back of the knee, directly behind the knee cap, to access the popliteal artery. Do not bend or move the leg to put it in a more convenient location. Reach around to the back of the leg and press up.
On the inside of the wrist, move away from the thumb towards the tip of the forearm. For foot wounds, trace above the front/top of the foot, right where it meets the shin. In both cases, do not forget to feel for a pulse before applying pressure.