edited byJack Herrick and 98 others
While it can be scary for blood to be coming out of the nose, most nosebleeds are harmless. They’re often caused by a knock or blow to the nose, picking the nose, sneezing or blowing or from heat or a proclivity to having bloody noses (the latter being fairly normal for some young children).
Above all, when you get a nosebleed, staying calm is very important. If you follow the steps below, you should be able to successfully stop a nosebleed.
1.1 During the nosebleed
1.2 After the nosebleed
1.3 Knowing when to see a doctor
During the nosebleed
1. Sit down and lean forward
Sit down and lean forward. This is to allow the blood to drain out rather than running into your throat. It can help to use a bowl to catch the flow of blood rather than ruining clothing or towels. Have tissues, handkerchiefs or face cloths at hand to help dab at blood on the face or hands.
Don’t lie down or lean too far forward; keeping your head above your heart will minimize bleeding. If you place your head back too far (as is wont to happen when lying down), the blood can flow down the throat and bring about vomiting.
2. Drink some water to help clean your throat.
Drink some water to help clean your throat. Blood in the throat can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Water can also be important if the cause of the blood nose is dehydration or dry heat.
3. Use one or both of the following techniques to stop the bleeding:
Pinch the soft part of your nose just below the bridge (the bony/hard cartilage part).
Pinch the soft part of your nose just below the bridge (the bony/hard cartilage part). Use the thumb and index finger to squeeze (not too hard) it for at least 5 minutes. If your nose continues to bleed, squeeze again for at least 10 minutes. As you’re doing this, breathe through your mouth; while pinching your nose pretty much means you have little choice but to breathe through your mouth, this has a positive, calming effect. If pinching your nose the second time doesn’t stop the bleeding, get emergency medical attention (see below).
Put a cold ice pack on the back of the neck or the forehead. Remain upright but leaning slightly forward.
After the nosebleed
1. Remain calm and resting for a good amount of time
Remain calm and resting for a good amount of time. You’ll probably have to remain seated and resting for about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the severity of the nosebleed, most particularly to prevent the nosebleed from restarting.
2. Avoid sniffing, blowing or cleaning the nostrils for about four hours after the nosebleed.
Avoid sniffing, blowing or cleaning the nostrils for about four hours after the nosebleed. Any of these actions could cause the nosebleed to recommence. Continue drinking water regularly to keep well hydrated.
3. Do not clean out the inside of your nose after the bleeding has stopped.
Do not clean out the inside of your nose after the bleeding has stopped.
Do not clean out the inside of your nose after the bleeding has stopped. Doing this can dislodge clots and start the bleeding again. However, it is fine to gently clean around the outside of the nose to remove blood using warm water and a very soft cloth.
4. Clean up everything else.
Clean up everything else. See How to remove blood stains if clothing or upholstery has been stained by blood.
5. Turn on a cool vaporizer to moisten mucous membranes, which will help prevent the nosebleed from recurring
Turn on a cool vaporizer to moisten mucous membranes, which will help prevent the nosebleed from recurring. If you don’t have a vaporizer, breathe in through your mouth and slowly out through your nose so the moisture in your breath will moisten it.
6. If you’re prone to nosebleeds, avoid doing anything to cause your nose to bleed
If you’re prone to nosebleeds, avoid doing anything to cause your nose to bleed. Don’t blow your nose, pick your nose, bump it, or bend over or rub your nose vigorously. And don’t get into physical fisticuffs!
Knowing when to see a doctor
Most nosebleeds self-resolve within 20 to 30 minutes. If your nosebleed or the nosebleed of someone you’re tending to does not cease after 30 minutes, see a doctor. Other reasons for seeing the doctor include:
The nose is also broken. Don’t sit around tending to a nosebleed when the nose itself is broken. Get to a doctor or emergency center immediately.
If the blood is thin and watery, get straight to emergency. This is especially important if the nosebleed occurs as a result of a blow to the head.
There is nausea, dizziness, vomiting or unconsciousness involved.
There are other signs of illness present or pain.
2. In the case of a child, a noted frequency of nosebleeds should be checked out by a doctor
In the case of a child, a noted frequency of nosebleeds should be checked out by a doctor. It may be nothing more than a common susceptibility to nosebleeds that the child will grow out or it may be due to too much nose-picking (in which case, tell the child to stop it). However, it’s better to be safe and get your doctor’s advice.
If you get a lot of nose bleeds, talk to your doctor.
To prevent problems in the future, raise the humidity level in your living quarters by using a humidifier. Most nosebleeds occur when nasal blood vessels become dry and cracked.
Use diluted eucalyptus oil (one drop oil to one quart water) as a preventative measure to moisten the nasal membranes. Apply with a Q-Tip one to three times per day.
Avoid eating dry, deep fried, baked or crispy foods.
Avoid getting the person with the nosebleed upset or crying because it may worsen the nosebleed.
The “Pinching Method” is the only generally accepted medical practice for stopping nosebleeds.
It is not recommended that you tilt your head back while suffering a nose bleed (contrary to popular belief). This allows blood to flow into the esophagus and poses a choking hazard, as well as causing blood to collect in the stomach. Too much swallowed blood will cause emesis (vomiting). Tilt forward instead.
Tilting your head back can also allow the blood to collect and clot in your sinuses. It will eventually pass out the nostril as a red-black jelly blob that can be quite disturbing.
During a severe nosebleed, don’t be surprised if blood starts dripping from the corner of your eye next to your nose. The lacrimal duct there is connected to the nasal sinuses and blood can flow out of it during a bad nosebleed. However, if you have a nosebleed that severe, you should probably be seen in an emergency room.
Blood loss can be dangerous. If you have a lost a great deal of blood, call an ambulance or get someone to take you to the emergency room. This is rare in the case of nosebleeds.
If using an ice pack, make sure to wrap it in a rag or cloth to avoid ice burns.
In many cases during dry seasons of climates, nosebleeds can be caused by vessels close to the surface of the skin chapping and then rupturing. A light daily application of vaseline, can help alleviate this issue.