To see or not to see a doctor. That is the question when you or your child has a nosebleed. The answer is … it depends.
The sight of blood trickling from your nose may seem alarming, but it’s not in most cases, nor does it necessarily require medical attention. Most nosebleeds will either stop on their own or if you follow a few simple self-care steps. At the first sign of a nosebleed, all you need to do is:
- Sit upright to reduce the blood pressure in the veins of your nose and stop the bleeding sooner. Also, lean forward to avoid swallowing blood, which may irritate your stomach.
- Pinch your nostrils shut using your thumb and index finger and breathe through your mouth for about 10-15 minutes. This will put pressure on the source of the nosebleed and halt the flow of blood.
- Gently blow your nose to help clear out any blood that has clotted, then spray a nasal decongestant in the affected nostril to prevent further blood clots.
- If your nose continues to bleed, repeat these steps for up to 15 minutes before seeking medical attention.
Frequent nosebleeds are another matter. They can be caused by a number of reasons, including an infection, trauma, allergic and non-allergic rhinitis, high blood pressure, the use of blood thinning medications, or climate and environmental factors. For example, people who live in hot, dry or cold and windy climates typically experience nosebleeds more frequently than those who live in humid weather.
If this is the case, you’ll want to keep the lining of your nose nice and moist. You can do this by applying a moisturizing ointment – such as petroleum jelly or Neosporin – instead your nostrils two to three times a day. Your doctor may also prescribe or suggest a saline nasal spray to keep your nasal membranes moist.
In addition, it may be a good idea to invest in a humidifier for your home. These devices provide moisture air, limit the effects of dry air on your nasal passages.
If you’re experiencing several nosebleeds per month, you should see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor as frequent nosebleeds can be a symptom of a serious health problem such as a blood clotting disorder or nasal tumor.
Frequent or not, you should seek emergency medical care if your nosebleed is:
- The result of a traumatic injury or accident;
- Involves a substantial amount of blood;
- Interferes with your breathing; or
- Continues to bleed for more than 30 minutes
If you are losing lots of blood, do not drive yourself to an emergency room. Instead, have someone else drive you or call 911. Also, if a child younger than two years old is suffering a nosebleed, seek immediate medical attention.
If you are in need of urgent care, come see us at Patient Care Now Urgent Care center. We are open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays, from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm. Owned and operated by board-certified emergency medicine providers, we pride ourselves in providing a seamless experience to our patients. Call us at (267) 202-6433 for all your urgent care needs, or use our online check-in form.