How to manage nose bleeds?

If blood from your nose is oozing, the condition may be as bad as its dramatic appearance implies, but chances are not. The wall between your nostrils is full of tiny vessels that break very quickly as a result , for example, of bumping your nose or blowing it too hard. Irritation and blockage from allergies, colds or flu, as well as overuse of nasal decongestants or breathing dry air, may cause a nosebleed.

None of these scenarios are usually cause for major concern. That being said, blood-thinning drugs or disorders, such as haemophilia, may cause bleeding to persist long enough to warrant medical treatment. And occasionally, one of the bigger ones is the damaged blood vessel, far back in the nose, near the throat.

Posterior nosebleeds, as these injuries are called, are less common but more serious than those near the opening of the nostril. Their possible triggers include a blow to the head, a broken nose or a nasal tumour. So, if you have reason to suspect a posterior nosebleed, head to the hospital.

Otherwise, just sit down and slightly lean forward. This will point the blood to your nose instead of letting it slide down your throat or airways. Swallowing this will cause nausea and vomiting. Additionally, there is a danger that you might breathe some blood, which could lead to pneumonia. You should not lay down until the bleeding slows, for the same reasons.

Next, firmly pinch the soft part of your nose, below the bony bridge. Even if it’s clear that only one nostril is affected, pinch them both together: this will apply enough pressure on your wound to staunch the bleeding. Continue this way for at least ten minutes before releasing your hold to check how things are progressing.

The bleeding usually stops within 20 minutes of pinching or less, but if it does not, go to department of emergency. If you have swallowed enough blood to cause vomiting, have trouble breathing, or notice signs of excessive blood loss, such as dizziness, fainting, or shortness of breath, you should also head in there.

Doctors have tricks up their sleeves that aren’t available to you at home. If they can pinpoint the bleeding site, they’ll likely try to cauterise it with chemicals. Otherwise they may decide to put pressure on your wound, wherever it may be, by filling up the space inside your nose. To this end, they may stuff your nose with sterile, lubricated gauze or, if you have a posterior nosebleed, blow up a specially shaped balloon inside a nostril.

After a nosebleed is resolved, there are steps you can take to avoid reopening the same wound. For the next day or two, don’t blow your nose if you can help it. If you feel a sneeze coming on, try to release most of it out of your mouth.

Try to humidify your room or use a saline or water-based nasal gel, if you think dry air was a factor. Avoid heavy lifting, as it may strain your weakened blood vessel and abstain from smoking (which dries out your nose), drinking hot beverages, or taking hot showers (the steam can dilate the blood vessels). In short, be gentle on your nose and give it an opportunity to recover.

Check out my related post: Do throat lozenges actually work?

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