also called epistaxes (ep-ih-STAK-seez), involve bleeding from
the inside of your nose. The lining of your nose contains many
tiny blood vessels that lie close to the surface and are
easily damaged. The two most common causes of nosebleeds are
dry air — when your nasal membranes dry out, they’re more
susceptible to bleeding and infections — and nose picking.
people have occasional nosebleeds, particularly younger
children and older adults, and although nosebleeds may be
scary, they’re generally only a minor annoyance and aren’t
nosebleeds aren’t serious and will stop on their own or by
following self-care steps.
steps for occasional nosebleeds include:
upright and lean forward. By remaining upright, you reduce
blood pressure in the veins of your nose. This discourages
further bleeding. Sitting forward will help you avoid
swallowing blood, which can irritate your stomach.
Gently blow your nose to clear out any clotted blood. Spray a
nasal decongestant in the nose.
Pinch your nose. Use your thumb and index finger to pinch both
nostrils shut, even if only one side is bleeding. Breathe
through your mouth. Continue to pinch for five to 10 minutes.
This maneuver puts pressure on the bleeding point on the nasal
septum and often stops the flow of blood.
Repeat. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, repeat these steps for
up to a total of 15 minutes.
the bleeding has stopped, to keep it from starting again, don’t
pick or blow your nose and don’t bend down for several
hours. Keep your head higher than the level of your heart.
help prevent nosebleeds include:
Keeping the lining of the nose moist. Especially during colder
months when air is dry, apply a thin, light coating of
petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or antibiotic ointment (bacitracin,
Neosporin) with a cotton swab three times a day. Saline nasal
spray also can help moisten dry nasal membranes.
Trimming your child’s fingernails. Keeping fingernails short
helps discourage nose picking.
Using a humidifier. A humidifier will counteract the effects
of dry air by adding moisture to the air.
emergency medical care if nosebleeds:
Follow an injury, such as a car accident
Involve a greater than expected amount of blood
Interfere with breathing
longer than 30 minutes even with compression
Occur in children younger than age 2
drive yourself to an emergency room if you’re losing a lot
of blood. Call 911 or your local emergency number or have
someone drive you.
your doctor if you’re having frequent nosebleeds, even if
you can stop them fairly easily. Frequent nosebleeds are those
that occur more than once a week. It’s important to
determine the cause.