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How to Stop a Bloody Nose

Updated on September 16, 2012
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The nose is a very vascular (contains many blood vessels) organ that is vulnerable to injury due to its position and placement on the face. The membranes that line the nose need to remain moist and may bleed if they are dried out from the cold weather or are subjected to the dry heat of summer.

People susceptible to nose bleeds may consider a humidifier in their homes during the winter months of the drying effects of house heating. Also, nose bleeds may occur from injury to the nasal membranes by picking the nose (digital trauma) or by blowing the nose frequently or hard. The overuse of nasal sprays or allergic rhinitis (allergies) may also dry the membranes and cause them to swell or crack and bleeding may occur. Follow these simple steps to stop a nose bleed.

A Simple Nosebleed is not Life Threatening

The nose may bleed profusely but is usually self-limiting and stops with firm pressure applied to the nose. Bleeding from the face is often psychologically traumatic, but most of the time it is not a serious problem. Staying calm will keep your blood pressure from spiking and make it easier for you to stop the bleeding.


Lean Forward and Pinch Your Nose

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When to Seek Medical Help

More serious nosebleeds can come from certain medications and conditions and need to be checked immediately by a doctor. Call your physician if you have any of these conditions or take any of these medications:

  • Blood Thinners: Warfarin Sodium (Coumadin), Heparin or Large Amounts of Aspirin or Ibuprofen
  • History of High Blood Pressure
  • Alcohol Abuse or Alcoholism
  • If Bleeding Worsens, or if Bleeding is Copious (profuse), Seek Medical Attention Immediately
  • Anti-Clotting Medications: Plavix or Other Medications that Affect Clotting
  • If the Nosebleed Occurs with a Fever and Headache
  • The Nosebleed it the Result of a Head Injury

How to Stop a Simple Nosebleed

  1. Sit in a chair and remain calm. Lean your head slightly forward so the blood doesn’t run back into the sinuses or run down your throat and possibly cause you to gag.
  2. Pinch the nostrils together with the thumb and index finger and push the nose firmly, but gently, backwards against your face. Remain sitting and keep the pressure on your nose at least 4-5 minutes without laying flat or lowering your head to your lap.
  3. When you release your nostrils, if bleeding continues, repeat the procedure for another 5 minutes.

If Your Nose Continues to Bleed

  • If bleeding continues, wrap ice in a towel and apply it around the nose and against the face. The cold will slow the circulation to the facial area. Do not apply ice to any area on your body longer than 15-20 minutes to prevent frostbite.
  • Use the recommended dose per instructions of Afrin or Neo-Synephrine nasal spray. The chemical properties will narrow the capillaries in the nose, slow the blood flow and promote blood clotting.
  • Do not use the nasal spray if you suspect the bleeding is due to overuse of nasal spray.

After the Nosebleed has Stopped

  • Remain quiet and lay down on your back with your head elevated at least 30-45 degrees.
  • Do not blow your nose or attempt to wipe the inside of nostrils
  • Carefully remove blood clots from the nose by gently blowing into a tissue if necessary.

About the Author

eHealer is an expert author and professional nurse with a masters degree in nursing research. With over 25 years experience as a registered nurse in patient care and nursing education, eHealer has written valuable online information for the past 12 years on health and wellness, scientific research and chronic disease. She continues a philosophy of providing responsible, factual, and evidenced-based information that provide health consumers with the best health information to make useful and important healthcare decisions.

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    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Spatuscujones, cool name! Thanks for reading and I hope you find something here that will help you, be well!

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 5 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Thanks for the useful tips. As someone who have experienced periods of frequent nosebleeds in the past I have already tried a few of these tips. But I may have to keep the other tips in mind as well.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks Sommer, I am so glad you found the info useful. I appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

    • SommerDalton profile image

      Sommer Dalton 5 years ago

      Very useful hub! My kids get these from time to time! Voted up and more!

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Glimmer, thanks for the support. I get nosebleeds all the time in allergy season, I sneeze and it's really dry here in Las Vegas. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      Very interesting and useful hub. I used to get nosebleeds all the time in high school. The ice tip is great. Now I know why my mother always gave me a cold wash cloth to put on my face.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Mhatter, you are too funny! Lol, lol, thank for the great comments and I really needed a laugh tonight!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      This is true. My new wife has 2 boys. The younger one was suffering from a bloody nose. How did we stop it? By telling his brother to stop punching him.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Tips, sorry you have bloody noses,they are very annoying. Thanks for stopping by and I know how busy your are. My next hub is on how to stop frequent nosebleeds. Take care o yourself!

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 5 years ago from New York

      I've never heard about using ice to slow the circulation to the facial area. It sounds like a good solution, so I'll give it a try. With heating season coming soon, I'll unfortunately have plenty of opportunities. Great tips! And thanks for keeping them simple ... bloody noses are not a time for doing anything very complicated.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Lol William, you are too funny. Thanks for the great comments, you have a very hard job and I hope you stay safe. See you soon!

    • William Young profile image

      William Young 5 years ago from Eaglle Grove, Iowa

      Very informative article, eHealer. Would you believe, I've never in my life had a bloody nose, although I have had many people in my job offer to give me one!