Treating and Preventing Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are a common annoyance that many have to deal with at least once in their lives. There are many factors that can cause a nosebleed including dry air, nose-picking, allergies, injury, and sinusitis. When a nosebleed occurs, especially for younger children, it is helpful to remember that they are more annoying than harmful and rarely warrant a trip to a medical provider. So what should you do when you get a nosebleed? Here are the steps to take:


Control the Flow of Blood

Roll the tip of a tissue until it is small enough that can fit into the affected nostril. The tissue will absorb the blood and keep it from making a bigger mess. Breathe through your mouth during this entire process.

Sit Up, Learn Forward and Pinch Your Nose
Now that we have stopped the blood that is coming out of the nose, we need to stop the nosebleed in general. With two fingers, pinch together the soft part of your nose above the nostrils. Do this for 15 minutes to stop the blood flow at the source.

While you have your nose pinched, stay upright and lean forward slightly. This will alleviate the blood pressure in your nose and prevent you from swallowing any blood that travels back into the nasal cavity.

Removing the Tissue
After the 15 minutes have passed, it should be ok to pull the tissue out. Sometimes, loose blood will have clotted in your nose and may get pulled out when you remove the tissue. It will look like a small bloody slug. This is normal and not something to worry about. This clot can also come out if you blow your nose right after pulling the tissue out. If your nose continues to bleed, repeat the process until it stops.

If you have frequent nosebleeds, your nosebleed was caused by an injury, or not controlled after 30 minutes or so, you will want to consult a medical provider to determine the cause and proper treatment.


A common cause of nosebleeds is dry air, especially in the winter. Like your skin, the inside of your nostrils can get dry and crack which causes bleeding. A humidifier can help with this, but if you don’t have one, go to your kitchen or bathroom sink and run the hot water until you can see steam rising from the heat of the water. Lean down and breath in that vapor for a couple of minutes every other day. The steam will help moisturize your nostrils and prevent them from drying.

Sneezing and Blowing Your Nose
If you must sneeze, keep your mouth open and not closed (always sneeze into a tissue or the inside of your elbow if you are unable to reach one). A closed-mouth sneeze can cause the blood vessels in your nose to break and bleed especially if they are already dry and cracked. (It should be noted that an open-mouthed sneeze may also cause a nosebleed but not as frequently as a closed-mouth sneeze.)

The same can happen if you blow your nose so remember to use restraint when blowing your nose. True, the harder you blow, the easier it clears out, but it can also cause a nosebleed if pushed too hard.

Drink Water
It’s always a good time to drink water. Not only does drinking water keep your skin moisturized, but it can do the same for your nostrils. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and keep your nostrils from cracking and bleeding.

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