For some people, the sight of blood can be scary, even when it’s not life threatening. So how do you know when bleeding requires a trip to the ER?

The short answer is you should go to the ER if you are losing a significant amount of blood, and bleeding is not controlled with direct pressure. If you are unsure, here are some guidelines below.

If You Have These Symptoms, You May Require Emergency Care

First, determine the source of the bleeding.

  • Nose: Hold direct pressure on the bridge of the nose for 10 minutes. If bleeding continues for an hour or more, go to the ER.
  • Intestinal: If you are vomiting blood or if there is blood in the stool, go to the ER.
  • Surgical: If you have recently had surgery, and the wound re-opens or starts bleeding, contact your surgeon. He or she may advise you to go to the ER.
  • General: If bleeding is not controlled by direct pressure, visit the ER.

If the injury seems minor, consider visiting an urgent care facility instead.

If You Are Taking Blood Thinners, You May Require Emergency Care

You should go to the ER if you experience bleeding while taking blood thinners. Blood thinners are typically prescribed to help prevent heart attack or stroke. Common blood thinners include:

  • Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Eliquis (apixaban)
  • Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate)
  • Xarelto (rivaroxaban)
  • Heparin
  • Lovenox (enoxaparin)
  • Fragmin (dalteparin)

HCA West Florida has 20 full-service ERs, conveniently located along Florida’s West Coast. Our hospitals are leaders in improving ER processes to enhance patient care and reduce wait times.