ST JOHN AMBULANCE: How to deal with a burst varicose vein

A varicose vein can be burst by a gentle knock
A varicose vein can be burst by a gentle knock

St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity has teamed up with the Herald and Gazette to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips – this week: dealing with a bleeding varicose vein.

Veins contain one-way valves that keep the blood flowing towards the heart.

If these valves fail, blood collects behind them and makes the vein swell.

This problem, called varicose veins, usually develops in the legs.

A varicose vein has taut, thin walls and is often raised, typically producing knobbly skin over the affected area.

The vein can be burst by a gentle knock, and this may result in profuse bleeding.

Shock will quickly develop if the bleeding is not controlled.

Follows these simple steps to help:

• Help the casualty to lie down on their back. Raise and support the injured leg as high as possible to immediately reduce the amount of bleeding.

• Rest the injured leg on your shoulder or a chair. Apply firm, direct pressure on the injury using a sterile dressing or a clean, non-fluffy pad until the blood loss is under control. If necessary, carefully cut away clothing to expose the site of the bleeding.

• Remove garments such as garters or elastic topped socks as these may cause the bleeding to continue.

• Keeping the leg raised, put another large, soft pad over the dressing. Bandage it firmly enough to exert even pressure, but not so tightly that the circulation in the limb is impaired.

• Call 999/112 for emergency help. Keep the injured leg raised and supported until help arrives. Monitor and record vital signs – level of response, breathing and pulse regularly. In addition, check the circulation in the limb beyond the bandage every ten minutes.

• For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website {http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/default.aspx |(www.sja.org.uk)|www.sja.org.uk} offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice. For more information about first aid courses please call 0303 003 0101.

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