Dec 13 , 2016
Nosebleeds can happen after nasal injuries, overzealous picking or blowing, or when the air in your environment is extremely dry. Some people tend to get nosebleeds more frequently than others. They are pretty common, and rarely life-threatening. Follow along after the jump to learn how to stay calm and stop the bleeding.
Part One of Three: Contain the Blood
1. Hold a tissue to your nose.
The first thing to do is make sure you pinch the bridge of your nose. Grab the closest tissue or paper towel and hold it up to your nose to stop the blood from getting everywhere. Pinch your nose to prevent a long lasting nose bleed.
- Don’t blow your nose, since this can make the bleeding worse.
- If the bleeding is heavy, you may need to use an absorbent cloth towel.
2. Get into a comfortable position, don’t lay down.
Sit down in a chair as well as lean slightly forward. Your inclination may be to lean back, to work against gravity and stop the blood from flowing so quickly, but if you lean back you risk swallowing blood, which can lead to an irritated stomach and even vomiting.
- If you want to remain standing, you can, but it’s better to relax your body by sitting down for a few minutes while you get control of your nosebleed.
Part Two of Three: Stop the Flow
1. Pinch your nostrils.
The blood that flows during nosebleeds most commonly comes from the fleshy front of your nose. Pinching that section of your nose is the best way to stop the flow.
- Lean forward and use your fingers to pinch your nostrils shut for 10 minutes. Doing this should help the blood clot and stop running, the same way it does when you hold a bandage to a wound on your skin.
- Medicated nasal sprays can also help stop the flow. If you have a nasal spray such as Afrin on hand, spray your nose with it before you begin pinching.
2. Check the bleed.
After 10 minutes have passed, release your nose and determine whether its still bleeding. If blood is still flowing, resume pinching your nose for another 10 minutes.
3. Apply a cold compress over the bridge of your nose.
If pinching doesn’t seem to be stopping the bleeding, a cold compress will cause blood vessels to constrict, slowing the bleeding. Try one of these methods:
- Wet a washcloth with cold water. It’s not as cold as it could be, but it’s more comfortable than ice on your skin and it should still help.
- Make a quick ice pack. Put ice inside a resealable plastic bag, and hold it on top of your nose. Crushed ice is ideal, but cubed works, too.
- Keep frozen sponges handy. If you tend to get nosebleeds often, this trick can save you a lot of time. Get a new kitchen sponge, add a bit of water to it, and put it into a resealable plastic bag. Put the bag in the freezer, and pull out a sponge whenever you have a nosebleed — it’ll be easier than hassling with ice cubes while you’re bleeding.
4. Know when to call a doctor.
Most nosebleeds aren’t serious, and don’t require emergency medical care. In some rare cases nosebleeds are caused by something other than a slight tear in the skin. See a doctor if you experience the following:
- You’re still bleeding after 20 minutes.
- The bleeding started after a head injury.
- Your nose was hit, and you suspect it’s broken.
Part Three of Three: Prevent Future Nosebleeds
1. Combat dryness.
Many people suffer nosebleeds during periods of the year when the air is dryer, or if they live in a desert climate. Here’s what you can do to mitigate the risks:
- Run a humidifier. Humidifiers are available cheaply, and they’re easy to manage. Run one while you sleep and turn it off while you’re gone during the day.
- Use a nasal saline spray. Saline spray is made with salt, and its primary purpose is simply to wet your nasal passages. Use it a few times a day.
2. Keep your cool.
Heat can sometimes lead to nosebleeds, so take steps to keep your body and your environment a little cooler.
- Run fans or air conditioning inside your house.
- Wear breathable cotton clothing.
- Stay hydrated and drink cool water.
- Run cool water over your wrists.
3. Avoid picking your nose too often.
Foreign objects in the nose can dislodge the blood clot and trigger a nosebleed. This is especially true if you have recently had a nosebleed; your nose may not have had time to heal yet.