Nosebleed

Is this your symptom?

  • Bleeding from 1 or both nostrils
  • Not caused by an injury

Causes of Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are common because of the rich blood supply of the nose. Common causes include:

  • Spontaneous Nosebleed. Most nosebleeds start up without a known cause.
  • Rubbing. Rubbing or picking the nose is the most common known cause. It's hard to not touch or rub the nose.
  • Blowing. Blowing the nose too hard can cause a nosebleed.
  • Sinus Infections. The main symptoms are lots of dry snot and a blocked nose. This leads to extra nose blowing and picking. The sinus infection is more often viral than bacterial.
  • Nose Allergies. The main symptom is a very itchy nose. This leads to extra rubbing and blowing.
  • Dry Air. Dryness of the nasal lining makes it more likely to bleed. In the winter, forced air heating can dry out the nose.
  • Allergy Medicines. These help the nasal symptoms, but also dry out the nose.
  • Ibuprofen and Aspirin. These medicines increase the bleeding tendency.
  • Cocaine Use. Frequent use of cocaine can lead to nosebleeds. Long-term use can cause a hole in the septum of the nose.
  • Bleeding Disorder (serious). This means the blood platelets or clotting factors are missing or not working right. A bleeding disorder should be suspected if the nosebleed can't be stopped. Excessive bleeding from the gums or with minor cuts is also a clue. Bleeding disorders are a rare cause of frequent nosebleeds. Taking blood thinners has the same effect.

When to Call for Nosebleed

Call 911 Now

  • Passed out (fainted) or too weak to stand
  • You think you have a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • Large amount of blood has been lost
  • New skin bruises or bleeding gums not caused by an injury
  • Taking blood thinning medicine
  • High-risk patient, such as with low platelets or other bleeding disorder
  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Contact Doctor During Office Hours

  • New onset nosebleeds happen 3 or more times in a week
  • Hard-to-stop nosebleeds are a frequent problem
  • Easy bleeding is present in other family members
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Mild nosebleed

Care Advice for Mild Nosebleed

  1. What You Should Know About Nosebleeds:
    • Nosebleeds are common.
    • You should be able to stop the bleeding if you use the correct technique.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Squeeze the Lower Nose:
    • Gently squeeze the soft parts of the lower nose together. Gently press them against the center wall (septum) for 10 minutes. This puts constant pressure on the bleeding point.
    • Use the thumb and index finger in a pinching manner.
    • If the bleeding continues, move your point of pressure.
    • Sit up or lean forward and breathe through the mouth during this procedure.
    • If the bleeding starts again, use the same technique again.
    • It may help to place a cool pack on the upper part of the nose.
    • You may swallow some blood if your nose is bleeding a lot. Do not be alarmed if you are sick and you see some blood in the vomit.
    • Once the bleeding has stopped, avoid blowing or picking your nose.
  3. Put Gauze into the Nose:
    • If pressure alone fails, use a piece of gauze. Wet it with a few drops of water. Another option is to put a little petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) on it.
    • Insert the wet gauze into the side that is bleeding. Press again for 10 minutes. Reason it works: the gauze puts more pressure on the bleeding spot.
    • If you don't have gauze, use a piece of paper towel.
    • Repeat the process of gently squeezing the lower soft parts of the nose. Do this for 10 minutes.
  4. Prevent Recurrent Nosebleeds:
    • If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier to keep the nose from drying out.
    • For nose blowing, blow gently.
    • Avoid picking the nose.
    • Do not use aspirin and ibuprofen. Reason: increases bleeding tendency.
    • Bleeding areas in the front of the nose sometimes develop a scab. It may heal slowly and re-bleed. Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to the spot. Repeat twice a day. Do not use for more than 1 week.
  5. What to Expect:
    • More than 99% of nosebleeds will stop if you press on the right spot.
    • It may take 10 minutes of direct pressure.
  6. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Can't stop bleeding with 10 minutes of direct pressure done correctly
    • You think you need to be seen
    • Your symptoms get worse

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.


Last Reviewed: 10/11/2023 1:00:48 AM
Last Updated: 4/13/2023 1:00:43 AM

Copyright 2023 Schmitt Decision Logic LLC

<strong>First Aid - Nosebleed</strong> <ul><li><strong>Sit up and lean forward</strong><em>.</em> This will keep the blood from running down the back of the throat.</li><li><strong>Apply Pressure</strong>. Gently squeeze the lower soft parts of the nose against the center wall for 10-15 minutes. Use your thumb and your index finger in a pinching manner. </li><li>If the bleeding continues, move your point of pressure and repeat again for another 10-15 minutes. </li></ul><p><em>Special Notes:</em> The goal is to apply continuous pressure to the bleeding point inside the nose. </p>
First Aid - Nosebleed
  • Sit up and lean forward. This will keep the blood from running down the back of the throat.
  • Apply Pressure. Gently squeeze the lower soft parts of the nose against the center wall for 10-15 minutes. Use your thumb and your index finger in a pinching manner.
  • If the bleeding continues, move your point of pressure and repeat again for another 10-15 minutes.

Special Notes: The goal is to apply continuous pressure to the bleeding point inside the nose.


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