Health Services

Nose Bleed — Epistaxis

EphNotes

CAUSES

The nose can bleed easily because the blood vessels lie so close to the surface. Bleeding from the nose occurs secondary to local infections, such as colds, allergies or sinusitis; vigorous nose blowing; drying of the mucus membrane; trauma such as picking the nose or nasal fracture; and high blood pressure (hypertension) and bleeding tendencies related to diseases. Most bleeding occurs from vessels at the tip of the septum, however bleeding from hypertension and diseases can be in the upper nostril and harder to control.

TREATMENT

  • Bleeding can be controlled by pinching the nose for 5-10 minutes without interruption
  • DO NOT tilt head backwards, as this allows the blood to rain down the throat and can cause an upset stomach
  • If bleeding can not be controlled in this method, you may need to seek medical attention for a cautery or packing
  • If the bleeding is caused by elevated blood pressure, your health provider may order medication and/or diet restrictions
  • A small amount of antibiotic ointment or Vaseline may be used on the irritated area
  • See your health care provider if you are having recurrent nosebleeds not related to a cold

PREVENTION

  • During the winter when the air is drier in rooms due to heat: Drink more fluids
  • Use a humidifier/vaporizer
  • Set containers of water around
  • Simmer a pan of water on the stove
  • Hang your wet towels in your bedroom
  • Let steam escape from the shower to other rooms

Information provided by University of Missouri-Rolla Health Center


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