Getting a nosebleed can be frightening or even a bit embarrassing. But the truth is, most nosebleeds are rarely a sign of a serious condition. Nosebleeds can be caused by a number of things, including:
- Dryness in the lining of the nose
- Scratching the skin over and over
- Excess use of nasal spray
- Blood thinners
- Trauma to the nose
Most nosebleeds come from the blood vessels in the front part of the nose, which will lead to a small amount of blood. But, if you are experiencing a larger amount of blood flow, your nosebleed could be more serious, and you should see a doctor.
RELATED: What Makes Your Nose Bleed?
How to Treat a Nosebleed
- Do pinch the bridge of your nose right below the bone when a bleed comes on. That’s where most of the blood flow is at.
- Sit and lean your head slightly forward, using a tissue to catch the blood. Leaning your head back can cause the blood to drain down your throat, causing upset stomach.
- Apply an ice pack to your nose and cheeks. Cold will constrict the blood vessels and help stop the bleeding.
- Gently blow your nose to clear out any clotted blood and then use a spray nasal decongestant in the nose. This works to constrict blood vessels which can stop the bleeding.
- Repeat these steps for up to 15 minutes if the bleeding hasn’t stopped.
What NOT to Do for a Nosebleed
- Do not tilt your head upward and walk around. You could swallow or, even worse, inhale blood.
- Once you have treated the clot(s) do not blow your nose for at least four hours.
Find a UPMC primary care physician by visiting the UPMC Primary Care website or by calling 1-855-676-UPMCPCP.
When Is a Nosebleed Something Serious?
In most cases, nosebleeds are not a sign of anything serious. However, if you are getting nosebleeds often, it’s best to see a doctor to rule out other medical conditions. Some common causes of heavy nosebleeds include a nasal fracture (usually from falling or getting hit in the face) or tumors or bleeding disorders. People with high blood pressure may also bleed heavier during a nosebleed.