First Aid: Cuts

Bandage over a cut
Evil Peacock, via Flickr

Liz Waid and Joshua Leo give simple instructions and advice about common emergencies. How would you help someone with a serious cut?

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Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Joshua Leo.

Voice 2 

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3 

“Most of us do not think about a crisis until we are in one. And we do not like to think about accidents. But any one of us could meet an emergency - at any time. Knowing what to do could save a life. Severe bleeding can be very alarming. But you can save a life by controlling the bleeding while you wait for emergency help.”

Voice 1 

These are the words of Doctor Catherine Hood. She is talking about first aid help. Treating a hurt person quickly is called first aid. First aid does not require expert medical help – anyone can learn first aid. Today’s Spotlight is the second program in a series on first aid. We will be talking about bleeding injuries. How would you help someone with a serious cut?

Voice 2

Imagine this situation. You are in your house, resting after a day at work. Suddenly, you hear a call for help. You run out of your house. Your brother is lying on the ground. He has cut his leg. There is blood everywhere. What would you do?

Voice 1 

Small cuts are usually easy to treat. First, the cut should be clean. Carefully wash out any dirt with soap and clean water. Then cover the cut with a clean cloth or bandage. Keep it clean and covered until the wound has healed. This will prevent infection – when bacteria enters the cut. An infected cut may not heal well. It may become hot and red. It may release white or yellow liquid or even blood. Later, if the wound does this, then you should get help from a medical worker.

Voice 2 

Sometimes the wound is more serious. Serious wounds require different first aid treatment. For example, think about our first story of the brother with a hurt leg. What should you do to treat a serious cut on a leg?

Voice 1 

First, get the victim to lie down. Then remove the clothes from around the wound. Do this quickly but gently. You must stop the bleeding as fast as possible.

Voice 2 

Look at the wound. Look for any objects in the wound - such as a piece of wood. If there are not any objects then do the following: Press down hard on the wound. Use a clean cloth to do this. Then, if possible, lift the damaged area. In this case, you need to raise the leg. Place the damaged leg up on something like a box. This will slow down the flow of blood to the wound. Keep pressing down on the wound. Do this for ten minutes. Then place a clean cloth over the wound. Use long pieces of material to tie the cloth firmly around the leg. Do not remove the cloth. If blood comes through the cloth simply place another cloth on top. Take the victim to the nearest doctor or hospital.

Voice 1 

But what do you do if you can see an object in the wound? You may want to remove the object. But this would be a mistake. If you move the object, more blood will come out. The object may be blocking more blood from flowing out of the wound. Instead, hold the edges of the wound together over or around the object. Do this for ten minutes. Gently cover the wound with a clean cloth. Then get help from a medical worker quickly.

Voice 2 

The faster you act in these situations, the better it is for the victim. Your first aid may save someone’s life. But remember you are important too. You do not want to become a victim yourself!

Voice 1 

It is important to protect yourself from catching any disease. HIV is the virus that leads to the AIDS disease. People with HIV carry the virus in their blood. You must be careful. Try not to directly touch the victim’s blood. Use a cloth to put pressure on the wound. Wear plastic gloves to cover your hands. This is especially important if you also have a wound that is not healed.

Voice 2 

If you are well prepared, you can give more help. Some people carry a few first aid items with them. Then they are always prepared to help in an emergency. Plastic gloves and cloth bandages are easy to carry. And they are very useful when treating bleeding injuries.

Voice 1 

Emergencies with cuts can happen anytime and anywhere. One place that bleeding injuries can happen is at work. Dane is an engineer. One day, he was working with a student engineer named Steve. Steve was young. He wanted the women in the office to notice him. So he offered to open a box for one of the women, with a knife he carried. Instead, the knife moved out of his hand. Steve cut his finger. His finger began to bleed - a lot! Dane saw the accident. He stopped to study the situation. Then he acted. He washed Steve’s cut with soap and water. Then Dane used a clean cloth bandage. He covered Steve’s finger, and pressed on it. Together, they raised Steve’s arm and put it on a table. However, the cut did not stop bleeding. So Dane took Steve to a medical center. There, a medical worker helped Steve. Dane told Spotlight,

Voice 4 

“I learned first aid as a child in the Boy Scouts. The first thing is to stay calm. Study the situation. Then act. Steve was bleeding a lot, but I knew what to do. I was not worried.”

Voice 2 

There are many different kinds of accidents. Each of them needs different first aid help. The right, quick, action can save a person’s life.

Voice 1 

In another programme we will look at first aid for some other injuries and accidents. If you are interested in first aid, you can learn more. Ask your local doctor or hospital where you can train in first aid. You never know - you could save a life.

Voice 2 

The writers of this program were Marina Santee and Elizabeth Lickiss. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at This program is called, ‘First Aid: Cuts’.

Voice 1 

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at You can also find us on Facebook - just search for Spotlight Radio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Would you know what to do if you or a friend experienced a serious cut?


Avatar Spotlight
D Nguyen
said on May 12, 2012

Thank you for useful information, maybe some day I will be able to help someone or myself by doing this first aid.

humble71's avatar
said on May 13, 2012

Thanks Marina and Elizabeth, the topic is very necessary for all of us . I learned to be prepared to an emmergency situation , clean the wound, press down the injury , lift up the hurt part of the body and then place a cloth in the wound. Then go to the medical worker quickly. One point that it’s very interesting is to use rubber gloves over the hands or if we don’t have them place a clean clothe over the wound and don’t touch the blood because we can become infected with AIDS . Thanks, Spotlight friends you make excellent programs .
Augusto Lenin
From Ecuador

Avatar Spotlight
said on May 18, 2012

Thank you spotlight and now I am able to notice some tips for first aid . I have never studied it before . I just learn from reading , hearing and watching the movie . I would like to take a first aid course from any hospital in my country . After I read a few situations in this program I find that It is very important and It is not heavy just only carry the small first aid box on the own.

From Cambodia

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on July 06, 2016

I cuted myself many times. When that happened I directly pross on around the wound for blood come out in order to the bacteria not inter to my blood/my body, when the blood stop by itself I cover it and link it by medical piece or some clean cloth, If the wound was small I dont add any acts but if it big I go to hospital or clinic.
God bless you

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on July 17, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the question above
Date: Sunday 17, July 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Liz Waid, Joshua Leo, Marina Santee, Elizabeth Lickiss, and Michio Ozaki:

First of all, I want to thank you to bring us readers and learners of English more one great article. Thanks!
Yes, I would. When someone cut himself or herself at home or at another place what that does person should do? The person should wash the wound with clean water and to cover it with a clean cloth to avoid bleeding and an infection.
After that, the person who suffered the accident should seek the medical help to repair the damage in which the accident caused on the skin.
Sometimes, it needs to do a small surgery to get together the veins, skin , ligaments, and bones.

Your regards,
Severino Ramos

Avatar Spotlight
said on August 12, 2019

If a friend of mine has a severe cut wound, I will first protect the wound with clean cloths and put pressure on it, trying to stop the bleeding. At the same time, I will provide medical help for him. Of course, I will protect myself against any blood contamination.
Congratulations to all for this new and good program.