Ever wake up in the middle of the night to find that your nose is bleeding? If so, you are like 11% Americans who have had at least one nosebleed in their lifetime. Although nosebleeds can be a nuisance and are sometimes scary, they are usually not dangerous.
Although nosebleeds are common and most can be easily resolved, some need additional treatment and may need to be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Rest assured that knowledge is power! Listed below are common causes and treatments of nosebleeds and information on when to contact a healthcare professional.
What are causes of common nosebleeds?
The inside of the nose is full of tiny blood vessels that are close to the surface. These blood vessels are susceptible to drying out and cracking. This is why nosebleeds happen more often during winter months, when people run their heaters and the air is dry.
Nosebleeds are most common in children ages 3-10 years. It is common for children in this age group to pick their noses, which can cause trauma to the inside of the nose. In addition, children are very active, which makes them more likely to have an injury to the nose.
Some other reasons for nosebleeds are:
- Upper respiratory infection (colds and flu)
- Nasal allergies
- Taking medications that thin the blood
- Having a bleeding disorder
How are common nosebleeds treated?
- First, apply pressure to both sides of the nose, apply pressure for a minimum of 5 minutes
- Tilt the head slightly forward so that blood does not run down the throat
- Apply an ice pack to the nose and cheeks
- After the nosebleed stops, limit activity for a bit to prevent re-bleeding
How are nosebleeds prevented?
The best prevention for the common nosebleed is to keep the inside of the nose moist. This can be achieved by using a cool mist humidifier in the home, and by using saline nose drops or other ointment if approved by your doctor. Also, remind children not to pick their noses and avoid harsh blowing of the nose.
When is medical advice needed?
Call your physician, healthcare professional, or ARJ nurse if a nosebleed lasts longer than 20 minutes, even though you have held pressure and followed the steps above. Call also, if the nose is bleeding rapidly and the blood loss seems large or if nosebleeds are a frequent problem.