What causes a nosebleed?
The nose can bleed for a variety of reasons: Allergies, infections, or dryness can cause itching and lead to picking of the nose. Vigorous nose blowing can rupture superficial nasal blood vessels in the elderly and the young. Clotting disorders that run in families or are due to medications. Fractures of the nose or the base of the skull can cause bleeding and should be regarded seriously when the bleeding follows a head injury. Rarely, tumors (both malignant and nonmalignant) have to be considered, particularly in the older patient or in smokers.
What can be done to stop a simple nosebleed?
First, help the person stay calm, especially a young child. A person who is agitated may bleed more than someone who’s been reassured and supported. Then:
- Pinch all the soft parts of the nose together between your thumb and the side of your index finger or soak a cotton ball with Afrin, Neo-Synephrine, or Dura-Vent spray and place this into the nostril.
- Press firmly but gently with your thumb and the side of your index finger toward the face, compressing the pinched parts of the nose against the bones of the face.
- Hold that position for a full five minutes by the clock.
- Keep the head higher than the level of the heart. Sit up or lie back a little with the head elevated.
- Apply ice – crushed in a plastic bag or washcloth – to nose and cheeks.
More information about nosebleeds.