A nosebleed, medically known as epistaxis, is a common occurrence that can happen to anyone, of any age. It is usually not a cause for alarm, but it is important to be familiar with the symptoms and first aid advice in case of a nose bleed.

There are two types of nose bleeds – anterior and posterior. Anterior nose bleeds occur when the blood vessels located on the front of the nose break and bleed. Posterior nose bleeds occur when the blood vessels located on the back of the nose break and bleed.

The most common cause of nosebleeds is dryness of the nasal membranes. The septum (the wall that separates your nostrils) is also a common location for nosebleeds.

In general, nosebleeds can be treated at home without a doctor’s care, this is especially true for nose bleeds that are anterior nose bleeds. For nose bleeds that are posterior nose bleeds it is always best to consult a physician because they are often the result of a nose injury or nose surgery.

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First Aid for nose bleeds:

  1. Sit or stand in an upright position. Sitting with your head down tends to cause blood from the nosebleed to run towards your throat and your stomach, this makes it more difficult to control the bleeding.
  2. Lean forward slightly so that you are looking down at a 45-degree angle. This will help trap blood within your nose and slow its loss.
  3. Pinch or compress the soft part of your nose firmly between your thumb and index finger for 10 minutes without stopping the pressure unless you have been instructed otherwise by a health care professional such as a doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, dentist, etc. because you could block an important blood vessel.
  4. If you are unable to stop the bleeding after 10 minutes, continue compressing for another 10 minutes. If bleeding continues after this 30 minute time period, seek medical attention.
  5. Ice can also be applied to the nose before compression in order to help constrict the blood vessels and reduce the amount of blood lost.
  6. Repeat these steps as necessary. Remember that nosebleeds can recur so it is best to have a plan in place in case they do.

Some things that you can do to prevent nosebleeds include:

  1. Keeping your nose moisturized by using a saline nasal spray or gel
  2. Avoiding picking or blowing your nose forcefully
  3. Using a humidifier in winter months
  4. Avoiding hot showers and steam rooms

If nosebleeds are a regular recurrence or you have any questions about nose bleeds, seek medical attention.


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