Nosebleed is also known as Epistaxis. It can usually be self-diagnosed, doesn’t require lab test or imaging, and can last several days or weeks depending on the type.
They may be scary, but they rarely indicate a serious medical problem. The nose contains many blood vessels, which are located close to the surface in the front and back of the nose. They’re very fragile and bleed easily. Nosebleeds are common in adults and children between the ages of 3 and 10. There are two kinds of nosebleeds.
- Antero-inferior epistaxis – bleeding of the vessels at the front of the nose; it is the most common type (90 percent cases).
- Posterior epistaxis – bleeding of vessels at the back of the nose; it is less common (5-10 percent cases).
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- Dry air
- Frequent nose blowing
- foreign object stuck in the nose
- chemical irritants
- allergic reaction
- injury to the nose
- repeated sneezing
- picking the nose
- cold air
- upper respiratory infection
- large doses of aspirin
- high blood pressure
- bleeding disorders
- blood clotting disorders
How to Treat a Nosebleed
Treatment for nosebleeds will vary depending on the type and cause.
While sitting up, squeeze the soft part of your nose.
Make sure that your nostrils are fully closed. Keep your nostrils closed for 10 minutes, lean forward slightly, and breathe through your mouth.
Don’t lie down when trying to stop a nosebleed. Lying down can result in swallowing blood and can irritate your stomach. Release your nostrils after 10 minutes and check to see if the bleeding has stopped. Repeat these steps if bleeding continues.
You can also apply a cold compress over the bridge of your nose or use a nasal spray decongestant to close off the small blood vessels.
See your doctor immediately if you’re unable to stop it on your own. You might have a posterior nosebleed that requires more invasive treatment.
Posterior nosebleeds are less common and often more serious than anterior nosebleeds.
This shouldn’t be treated at home. Contact your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room (ER) if you think you have a posterior nosebleed.
If untreated for a prolonged period it may lead to
- Vasovagal episode
- Mucosal pressure necrosis
- Use a humidifier if the relative humidity is too low
- Use aspirin, decongestants and antihistamines in moderation.
Avoid trauma by:
- Avoiding picking your nose or blowing too aggressively
- Always wearing a helmet when carrying out activities that could result in injury