How to Stop a Nosebleed

Published on: 24/01/2023

Find out the best ways to stop and treat nosebleeds, as well as when you should go to the hospital for a really bad one.

Nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, can be a common and usually harmless occurrence. But they can also be a sign of something more serious, so they should be treated with care.

Here are some tips on what to do when you have a nosebleed:

  1. Stay calm: It can be alarming to have a nosebleed but try to remain calm and avoid panicking. Panic can cause an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure, which can make the bleeding worse.
  2. Sit up and lean forward slightly: Sit up in a chair or on the edge of a bed, leaning slightly forward. This will help prevent blood from flowing down your throat and potentially causing you to vomit or inhale blood.
  3. Pinch your nostrils together: Using your thumb and index finger, pinch your nostrils together and hold for at least five minutes. This will help stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the bleeding vessel.
  4. Spit out any blood that collects in your mouth: If you have a lot of blood, gently spit it out. Do not swallow the blood as this can cause nausea or vomiting.
  5. Apply a cold compress: After you have stopped the bleeding, apply a cold compress to your nose and the bridge of your nose. This will help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort.
  6. Avoid blowing your nose: Do not blow your nose for at least 24 hours after a nosebleed. Blowing your nose can cause the bleeding to start again or make it worse.
  7. Avoid strenuous activity: Avoid any strenuous activity, such as lifting heavy objects or exercising, for at least 24 hours after a nosebleed. This will help reduce the risk of the bleeding starting again.
  8. Keep the air moist: Dry air can irritate the lining of your nostrils and increase the likelihood of a nosebleed. To help keep the air moist, use a humidifier or place a bowl of water near a heater.
  9. Apply petroleum jelly: To help prevent future nosebleeds, you can apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the inside of your nostrils. This will help moisturize the nasal passages and reduce the risk of irritation.
  10. See a doctor: If you have a nosebleed that does not stop after 20-30 minutes of applying pressure or frequent nosebleeds, it is important to see a doctor. Your doctor can assess the cause of your nosebleeds and provide treatment to help prevent future occurrences.

In severe cases of nosebleeds, even putting pressure on the nose and taking other first-aid steps might not stop the bleeding. In these cases, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Here are some additional steps that may be taken in more severe cases of nosebleeds:

  1. Nasal packing: If the bleeding does not stop after applying pressure, a doctor may place a nasal pack inside the nostril to apply direct pressure to the bleeding vessel. The nasal pack can be made of gauze, foam, or other materials and may be left in place for several days.
  2. Endoscopic cauterization: If the bleeding is coming from a specific area in the nose, a doctor may use a special tool called an endoscope to locate the bleeding vessel and cauterize it (burn it closed) using heat or a chemical agent.
  3. Balloon catheter: In some cases, a balloon catheter may be inserted into the nostril and inflated to apply pressure to the bleeding vessel. The balloon can be left in place for several days until the bleeding stops.
  4. Surgery: In very severe cases of nosebleeds that do not respond to other treatments, surgery may be necessary to locate and repair the bleeding vessel.

It is important to remember that these more drastic measures should only be taken under the supervision of a medical professional. If you are experiencing a severe nosebleed, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to ensure that the bleeding is properly treated and any underlying conditions are addressed.

Nosebleeds happen often and are usually nothing to worry about, but it is important to stop the bleeding and get medical help if needed. By using these tips, you can help control and stop nosebleeds and make sure you get the right care for any underlying conditions.