Nosebleeds are usually a childhood problem, a scary but minor bout with broken blood vessels just inside the nose. They’re caused by a cold, frequent nose blowing and picking, allergies, a dry environment, using too much nasal spray, or a punch or other blow to the nose.
Not all nosebleeds are minor. Some are serious, such as heavy bleeding from deep within the nose (called a posterior nosebleed) that’s hard to stop. This type usually strikes the elderly and is most commonly caused by hardening of nasal blood vessels, high blood pressure, medicines to treat blood clots, primary bleeding disorders like hemophilia, or by a tumor in the nose.
Although there are lots of ideas about how to treat minor nosebleeds, the following procedure is recommended by the American Academy of Otolaryngology, (Head and Neck Surgery).
- Sit with your head leaning forward.
- Pinch the nostrils shut, using your thumb and forefinger in such a way that the nasal septum (the nose’s midsection) is being gently squeezed.
- Hold for 15 uninterrupted minutes, breathing through your mouth.
- At the same time, apply cold compresses (such as ice in a soft cloth) to the area around the nose.
- For the next 24 hours, make sure your head is elevated above the level of your heart.
- Also, wait 24 hours before blowing your nose, lifting heavy objects, or exercising strenuously.
[Note: If you are unable to stop a nosebleed by using the Self-Care Tips, call your doctor.
Questions to Ask
Did this nosebleed follow a blow to another part of the head?
Does the nosebleed last 10 – 15 minutes or more?
Does the nosebleed start after taking newly prescribed medication?
Do nosebleeds recur often and/or are they becoming more frequent?
Healthy Self: The Guide to Self-Care and Wise Consumerism
© American Institute for Preventive Medicine