Have you ever had nose bleeding? Or had a friend or relative with nose bleeding and you did not know what to do? Well, this blog is meant to teach you some facts about nose bleeds as well as first aid maneuvers when you encounter one.

The nasal cavity has numerous blood vessels which are located close to the surface lining. These vessels are fragile and prone to bleed easily.

The most common causes of nose bleeds are a breakdown in the lining in the nose, trauma to the nose or face, high altitude, drug abuse involving the nose, high blood pressure, anti-clotting medications, and medical conditions that prevent your blood from clotting.

Nose bleeds are usually benign in origin, but may cause the patients or their relatives to worry. It is important that you should not panic.

The following first aid maneuvers, are usually enough to control the bleeding:

  1. Sit up straight and lean slightly forward. A common misconception is that tilting your head back will make the bleeding stop. The reality is, tilting your head back will only cause you to swallow blood which can irritate your stomach and make you vomit afterwards.
  2. Pinch your nostrils together, applying direct pressure with the thumb and index/ middle finger for approximately 10 minutes.

  3. Spit out any blood in the mouth. As I said before, swallowing blood may make you vomit.

  4. Put an ice pack over the nose bridge (NOT over the forehead). Chewing on ice chips may help in some cases.

Treatment of the underlying cause of nosebleed such as control of hypertension is important. If the nosebleed persists 10 minutes, it is best to proceed to the emergency room for further management.

If the nosebleed is recurrent, it is recommended that you see your ENT specialist, who may do a nasal endoscopy to rule out any nasal tumors that may be causing the bleeding.