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What To Do If A Shark Or Barracuda Attacks

1. Stay as calm as possible. Get the victim out of the water as quickly as possible. Get medical help as soon as you can. In the meantime, follow the steps below.

2. Put pressure directly over any areas that are bleeding. Do this by putting a thick folded cloth under the palm or heel of your hand or by wrapping a stack of gauze squares over the wound with an elastic wrap, or by pressing on the wound with your bare fingers. If the bandage soaks through, unwrap it and make sure it is directly over the bleeding area. Most bleeding stops with direct pressure. After you begin to put pressure directly on the wound, don't peek underneath or release the pressure for at least 10 minutes. It may take this long for the blood to clot and the bleeding to stop. Putting a cold pack over the area where pressure is being applied may help the bleeding stop sooner. Wounds to the scalp (head) tend to bleed for a long time so you may need to apply pressure longer to injuries in this area.

3. The injured person should lie down. The injured area should be raised so that it is higher than the person's heart.

4. If you have put pressure on the injury by wrapping it with bandages or cloth, make certain it is not so tight that you are cutting off blood circulation below the injured area. For example, if the person's leg or arm has been wrapped, his toes and fingers should still be pink (not blue) and should not go numb.

5. Usually, pressing directly on the wound will stop the bleeding. Uncontrollable bleeding is rare unless part of the person's body has been amputated (cut off) or a major blood vessel is torn. A more dangerous way to stop bleeding is to put strong pressure on the artery at a "pressure point" above the injury or to put a tourniquet around the arm or leg. Usually, these extreme methods should only be used by medical experts, because using one of these methods often means that the person's arm or leg will need to be amputated. If bleeding is so severe that you cannot stop it with direct pressure, and the person is in danger of bleeding to death, you may have to use one of these methods. To apply pressure to the artery, choose the pressure point closest to the wound between the wound and the heart. These pressure points are directly over the artery on the wrist, at the elbow, and near the groin. Pressing firmly at one of these pressure points will stop nearly all blood from circulating below the pressure point. To use a tourniquet, wrap a piece of cloth or elastic close to the wound between the heart and the wound. Tighten it just enough so that bleeding can be controlled by direct pressure to the wound. You should release the tourniquet briefly every 10 to 15 minutes to see if it is still necessary. The decision to use a tourniquet or apply pressure to a pressure point on the artery means that the person will probably lose his arm or leg in order to save his life.

6. If the person is bleeding from a severe cut in the neck do not disturb the wound. You might disrupt a blook clot and cause even more bleeding. Put cloth or gauze over the wound and apply firm pressure (but do not press so firmly that you choke the victim).

7. If there is a cut where internal organs or bones are sticking out, do not try to push them back inside. Cover them with most bandages. The moist bandages should be held in place without too much pressure.

8. If there is a serious injury to the person's chest area, all open wounds should be covered right away, especially if they are "bubbling".

9. After you have controlled the bleeding, keep the injured part from moving. You may need to make a splint (a thin piece of wood tied to the injured arm or leg to keep the arm or leg from moving). Check bandages regularly to be sure that swelling has not made the bandages too tight.

10. If a person has been scratched by a shark "bumping," control the bleeding, wash the scratch with soap and water, and rinse it with fresh water (use ocean water only if no fresh water is available). Cover it loosely with a sterile bandage.


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