There is something about the sight of blood that really gets your attention–especially if it is your own. Stopping the bleeding can be a challenge.
When your father nicked himself shaving, the chances were good that he either tore off some toilet paper and stuck it to his chin or dug a styptic pencil out of the medicine cabinet. The aluminum sulfate (alum) in this old-fashioned item constricted blood vessels to stop the flow of blood.
Some new products on drugstore shelves go far beyond the styptic pencil. Whether it’s a nosebleed, a shaving nick or a kitchen cut, high-tech advances can stop the flow of blood surprisingly well.
QR products, sold by Biolife, have been available for a few years. There are formulations for cuts, lacerations and nosebleeds. They contain hydrophilic polymer powder combined with potassium salt which help blood clot quickly. Information is available online at www.biolife.com or by phone at 800-722-7559.
Another high-tech blood stopper is QuikClot Sport from Z-Medica (www.z-medica.com). It contains the mineral zeolite in a powdered formulation that absorbs water quickly. This concentrates the natural clotting properties of blood. QuikClot has been used by the military in Afghanistan and Iraq where it is credited with saving lives on the battlefield.
There are also bandages and gauze that can stop bleeding more quickly than the old-fashioned variety. Some contain cellulose, which forms a gel in contact with blood. Look for BloodSTOP gauze from LifeScience PLUS (www.lifescienceplus.com). CVS pharmacies also sell BloodStop Sheer Bandages.
Another interesting product for nosebleeds is called NasalCEASE (www.nasalcease.com). This biopolymer releases calcium and helps control a nosebleed quickly.
In the event you don’t have one of these new products available the next time you need to stop a minor cut or nosebleed, you may want to resort to a home remedy. Readers of this column have shared some amazing stories. Glenda, a veteran teacher, sent this one:
“I was teaching in a rural school in South Georgia with 120 first graders and four teachers. Kids played hard in the heat and humidity and many children came in with nosebleeds.
“I tried the old methods of squeezing their nostrils and having them hold their heads back while sitting quietly or putting ice on the backs of their necks to try to stop the bleeding. One day an elderly custodian who had lived in the south all of her life said to me, ‘You Yankees don't know how to do much, do you?’
“She took out her car keys, tied some string through the key ring, placed the string around the neck of the child with the nosebleed and dropped the keys down the child's back under her shirt. That nosebleed was no longer a frightening problem for the child or the teachers trying to help! For the next 15 years I treated nosebleeds as Daisy showed me and never had a problem again.”
For minor cuts, ground black pepper helps: “I sliced my forefinger instead of my bagel this evening. Fortunately, the pepper was in easy reach. It took 3 applications to finish the job, but the bleeding stopped.” One advantage of black pepper is that you don’t have to rush to the drugstore when you need it.