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Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds (epistaxis, nose bleed) can be dramatic and frightening. Fortunately, most nosebleeds are not serious and usually can be managed at home, although sometimes medical intervention may be necessary.

Systemic disease can cause nosebleeds. Nosebleeds may be due to inflammation and exacerbated by immune system response.

Treatment

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Sit down and lean slightly forward.
  3. Keep your head above your heart.
  4. Lean forward so the blood will drain out of your nose instead of down the back of your throat. If you lean back, you may swallow the blood. This can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  5. Use your thumb and index finger to squeeze together the soft portion of your nose. This area is located between the end of your nose and the hard, bony ridge that forms the bridge of your nose. Keep holding your nose until the bleeding stops. Don't let go for at least 5 minutes. If it's still bleeding, hold it again for 10 minutes straight.
  6. Place a cold compress or an ice pack across the bridge of your nose and/or the back of your neck.
  7. Don't do anything that may make bleeding start again, such as bending over or blowing your nose for at least 48 hours.
  8. One's doctor may need to cauterize a leaking blood vessel if the bleeding cannot be stopped.
  9. One's doctor may want to check your coagulation time if nosebleed repeats.

This Medscape article gives physicians advice on how to treat a nosebleed.

Prevention

  • Use a humidifier with your oxygen and/or your cpap machine.
  • Apply a water-based ointment (Ayr is one OTC brand) to the inside of your nose with a Q-tip to keep it moist.
  • Do not blow your nose vigorously.
  • Do not pick your nose.
  • Increase the humidity of your home.
  • Do not take aspirin, Gingko biloba, vitamin E or essential fatty acids or any other OTC medications that might thin your blood.
  • Vitamin K may be needed if a patient is deficient (deficiency in adults is rare).

Notes and comments

home/symptoms/nosebleeds.txt · Last modified: 10.21.2016 by sallieq
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