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First Aid and Emergencies

Nosebleeds

Prevention - Home Treatment - When to Call a Health Professional

Nosebleeds are inconvenient and messy, but they can usually be stopped with Home Treatment. Some common causes of nosebleeds are low humidity, colds and allergies, blows to the nose, medications (especially aspirin), high altitude, and blowing or picking your nose.

Prevention

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  • Low humidity is a common cause of nosebleeds. Humidify your home, especially the bedrooms, and keep the heat low (15° to 17.8°C or 60° to 64°F) in sleeping areas.

  • If your nose becomes very dry, breathe moist air for a while (e.g., in the shower) and then put a little petroleum jelly on the inside of your nose to help prevent bleeding. A saline nasal spray may also help. See Saline Nose Drops.

  • Limit your use of aspirin, which can contribute to nosebleeds.

Home Treatment

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  • Sit up straight and tip your head slightly forward. Tilting your head back may cause blood to run down your throat.

  • Blow all the clots out of your nose. Pinch your nostrils shut between your thumb and forefinger or apply firm pressure against the bleeding nostril for 10 full minutes. Resist the urge to peek after a few minutes to see if your nose has stopped bleeding.

  • After 10 minutes, check to see if your nose is still bleeding. If it is, hold it for 10 more minutes. Most nosebleeds will stop after you apply direct pressure for 10 to 30 minutes.

  • Stay quiet for a few hours and do not blow your nose for at least 12 hours after the bleeding has stopped.

    Stopping a nosebleed

When to Call a Health Professional

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  • If the bleeding hasn't stopped after you have applied direct pressure for 30 minutes.

  • If blood runs down the back of your throat even when you pinch your nose.

  • If your nose is deformed after an injury and may be broken.

  • If nosebleeds recur often.

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