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?
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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.
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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.
Based in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and more than 700 doctor’s offices and outpatient centers. Our expert physicians are among the leaders in their fields, and we are leaders in groundbreaking research and treatment breakthroughs. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside ranks as “One of America’s Best Hospitals” and No. 1 in Pennsylvania in U.S. News & World Report’s listings.