Many people have experienced a nose bleed or two in their life. Most of the time it only lasts a few minutes and then stops. Nosebleeds can be a little scary, but most of the time they aren’t a sign of anything serious and can be treated at home. But, there are several things that cause a nosebleed and not all of them are harmless.
What is a nosebleed?
When you get a nosebleed, blood flows from one or both of your nostrils. It can be heavy or light and last anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes or more.
Causes for Nosebleeds
- Nose Injury – if someone gets punched in the nose, falls on their face, or suffers from a nose injury playing sports the blood vessels may be broken. The bleed can sometimes be profuse or sometimes it just oozes blood. If the injury to the blood vessels is near the front of the nose, the blood is bright red. If it happed further back on the nose, the blood is usually a darker red.
- Dry Air – Simply breathing in dry air can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels in the nose.
- Nose Picking – This can break a blood vessel in your nose.
- Allergies – Allergies can cause inflammation in the tissues of the nose and lead to bleeding.
- Sinusitis – An inflammation of the sinuses or the air-filled areas that open into the nose can lead to nosebleeds.
- The Common Cold – Inflamed sinuses and sneezing from common colds can cause the blood vessels to burst.
- Deviated Septum – A deviated septum is a condition where the cartilage wall that separates the nostrils is displaced to one side or the other. It can dry out the air entering the nose and make it susceptible to Nose Bleeds.
- Cocaine – When inhaled it constricts blood vessels and can cause them to break.
- Unknown – Sometimes nose bleeding causes are unknown.
Treatments for Nose Bleeds
Many nosebleeds can be treated at home. You should sit up with your head bent forward and use your fingers to close the nose for 10 minutes. By holding the nose closed, it allows the blood to clot, which should stop the bleeding.
Breathe through your mouth during this time, don’t blow your nose, and avoid sneezing if possible for several hours after the nose bleeds stop. Sneezing and blowing your nose could open the blood clot. Do not pack your nose with gauze or cotton.
Hold a cold compress to the nose as you hold it shut. Don’t speak and try not to swallow the blood from the nosebleed. Spit it out.
Things to prevent nosebleeds include:
- Avoid picking your nose and keep fingernails short.
- When blowing your nose, do so gently and as little as possible.
- Use a humidifier to keep the air moist in your home.
Talk to your doctor if you experience nosebleeds frequently. They may refer you to an ENT Specialist for assessment.