Nosebleeds can come in a variety of forms and tend to be quite common. More often than not though, they are usually more of a nuisance rather than a medical issue. Nosebleeds can happen at any time and are typically more common during the cold and dry winter months, but there are several causes of nosebleeds. Treating a bloody nose might seem like a challenge, but learning how to stop a nosebleed, or prevent them, can be beneficial if you are prone to them.
Types of Nosebleeds
During a nosebleed, blood can flow from one or both nostrils, and it can last anywhere between 10 seconds or 10 minutes or more. There are two different types of nosebleeds that can occur: anterior and posterior. Anterior nosebleeds are more common, making up roughly 90% of nosebleeds. Some nose bleeds are minor and produce only a trickle of blood. Other nose bleeds are more serious and can produce significant bleeding. Anterior bleeds originate in the front of the nose and though sometimes they can be frightening, producing a large amount of blood, most often they can be controlled with home measures but if bleeding is heavy can require medical attention.
Causes of anterior nosebleeds can include:
- Picking your nose
- Blowing your nose too hard
- Dry air
- High altitude
- Blocked or stuffy nose
Posterior nosebleeds are less common. These bleeds originate from the larger blood vessels in the back of the nose. This type of bleed is more dangerous and often requires prompt medical attention.
Causes of posterior nosebleeds can include:
- An injury that fractures part of your nose or skull
- Medications that thin the blood
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- A deviated septum
- Upper respiratory infections
- High blood pressure
If you have a posterior nosebleed, medical attention is likely required. Home treatments won’t work in these cases. We urge you to visit one of our three convenient locations if you suspect that you are suffering from a posterior nosebleed.
Who is More Likely to get a Nosebleed?
Nosebleeds are fairly common, and while anyone can get one from time to time, there are certain people who are more susceptible than others. Children between the ages of two and 10, elderly people, pregnant women, people who regularly take aspirin, and people with blood clotting disorders are more likely than others to experience a bloody nose.
How Do You Treat a Nosebleed?
If you have frequent nosebleeds, you may be wondering how to stop a bloody nose. There are several ways you can treat an anterior nosebleed at home.
- Start by sitting upright to reduce the blood pressure in your nose. Then lean forward slightly to prevent any blood from dripping down your throat. Never lie down during a nosebleed, as this can cause you to choke or vomit.
- Apply decongestant spray to the nostril that is bleeding.
- Firmly pinch the soft part of your nose for roughly 10-15 minutes. If bleeding continues after you’ve released your fingers, try once more for another 10-15 minutes.
- After the bleed has stopped, try to prevent any further irritation to the nose, such as sneezing, nose blowing, or straining for 24 hours.
- Add moisture to the air with a humidifier or vaporizer to help keep your nose from drying out and triggering more bleeding.
- Use a lubricating nasal spray or ointment.
When to Get Professional Help
Although in most cases nosebleeds are not serious, there are some instances where you might want to seek medical attention.
When to head to The Urgency Room:
- If you are taking a blood-thinning medication
- If you have symptoms of anemia such as shortness of breath or heart palpitations
- A child under the age of two has a nosebleed
- You have difficulty breathing
- You’ve lost a lot of blood from heavy bleeding
- The bleeding continues for 10 minutes or more
- You developed the bleeding after a serious injury
- The nosebleeds are occurring excessively and lasting for long periods
- If you’ve begun to bruise easily
- If you notice blood in your urine or stool
- You become weak or dizzy
- If you begin to cough up blood
How Do You Prevent a Nosebleed?
Preventing nosebleeds can be quite simple. During the dry months, moistening the air you breathe and staying hydrated can be a good start. Use a humidifier or vaporizer in your home, take hot showers to produce steam, and drink plenty of water.
Avoid picking your nose. If your child is prone to picking their nose, keep their fingernails short, as to not scratch and damage the inside of your nostrils causing a bloody nose. Also, avoid blowing your nose too harshly and try to do it as little as possible within reason.
Regularly apply petroleum jelly to the inside of your nose to keep it moist if you feel that you’re in danger of getting a nosebleed due to dryness. Nasal decongestants can be helpful, as well, but be very careful to follow the instructions because overuse can cause irritation.
Treat Your Nosebleed at The Urgency Room
While most nosebleeds can be treated at home, sometimes they require medical attention. Severe nosebleeds can be quite frightening and cause you to lose a lot of blood. In the event of a serious nosebleed, head to your nearest Urgency Room for fast and effective care.
Any Urgency Room location in Eagan, Woodbury, or Vadnais Heights is open to help you from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM 365 days per year; that means holidays, too. Our professional and experienced staff is waiting to show you how fast your path to health can be. And after your visit, you’ll be able to easily follow your physician’s recommendations with our online library of aftercare videos.