Five Steps to Stop a Nosebleed

A closeup of a woman tilting her head back slightly while holding a tissue to her nose with her eyes closed.

Nosebleeds seem to hit us when we least expect them. We quickly find ourselves fishing for some tissue or any other cloth of relief to help us stop the gush of blood that we feel running down our faces.

From accidental hits to the face to an extremely dry nose, nosebleeds are experienced by nearly 60 million people in the United States each year. The truth is that many nosebleeds happen for no apparent reason at all.

If you or a loved one gets nosebleeds often or are experiencing one now, we are here to provide helpful tips and tricks to stop a nosebleed in its tracks, including what not to do.

Let’s discuss nosebleeds in more detail.

What Is a Nosebleed?

Medically referred to as epistaxis, a nosebleed occurs when you lose blood from the tissue that lines the interior of your nose.

During a nosebleed, blood can flow from one or both nostrils, and the amount and flow of blood differ from person to person.

The location of the nose and the high number of blood vessels within it makes it an easy target for bleeding. In fact, nearly 60% of the population has at least one nosebleed in their lifetime.

Although some level of blood rushing from your nose can be quite alarming, they’re usually not something to worry about, especially if you can stop them quickly and they don’t occur often.

How do Nosebleeds Occur?

Minor nosebleeds typically start in the front of the nose or from the nasal septum. These are known as anterior nosebleeds. Most of these nosebleeds come from one nostril at a time and are the most common type.

The more severe type of nosebleed typically starts in larger blood vessels in the back of the nose. These are known as posterior nosebleeds. In extreme cases, blood may flow back toward the mouth and throat and out the nostrils.

Posterior nosebleeds are less common than anterior nosebleeds and require immediate medical attention because they can signal an underlying medical condition such as hypertension or some forms of cancer.

Nosebleeds can occur for several reasons, including

  • Dry air, especially dry heat
  • Nose picking
  • An upper respiratory infection
  • Constant nose blowing
  • A deviated septum
  • A direct injury to your face or nose
  • Allergies
  • Regular aspirin use
  • Sinus infections
  • Nasal sprays
  • Pregnancy
  • Alcohol use

Five Effective Ways to Stop a Nosebleed

If you’re experiencing a nosebleed, follow these steps to effectively stop it now:

  1. Sit up straight or stand up with your head slightly tilted forward. Do not tilt your head back.
  2. Use a nasal spray in the affected nostril to slow or stop the bleeding. Make sure it is an over-the-counter nasal decongestant (oxymetazoline or phenylephrine). Although we are greenlighting a nasal spray insert, it is important not to stick other things, such as tissues, up your nose to stop the bleeding. It may cause further irritation.
  3. Apply steady pressure to the soft portion of your noses on each side. Avoid squeezing the bridge of your nose as most of the affected blood vessels are in the lower, softer area.
  4. Wait it out. A nosebleed could take 10 to 20 minutes to stop completely. Do not remove pressure for at least 10 minutes to check on your nose.
  5. Apply ice to your nose if your nose is still bleeding after 15 minutes. Ice and a sense of cold, in general, constrict your blood vessels, helping halt the bleeding in its tracks.

Prompt Nosebleed Care You Can Count On

If you’re dealing with a nosebleed that hasn’t stopped after 30 minutes, you should seek medical attention to stop the bleeding.  

Visit Coastal Urgent Care of Thibodaux to get the nosebleed treatment you need now. We are open daily with no appointments necessary; simply walk in.