One in seven Americans will develop a nosebleed (epistaxis) at least once in their lives. While nosebleeds are common and usually harmless, the sudden onset of a bloody nose can be startling and frightening. The most common causes for nosebleeds are dry climate, heated indoor air during winter months, steroid nasal sprays or direct injury to the nose. More intense and frequent nosebleeds may occur in people who take anticoagulation medication.
Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to prevent and treat most nosebleeds on your own at home.
What To Do When You Get a Nosebleed
View our video for step-by-step instructions on what to do when you get a bloody nose and tips for preventing nosebleeds in the future.
If your nosebleeds occur more than three to four times per week, or six or more times in a month despite following these tips, please contact your health care provider. Patients who take anticoagulation medication and experience frequent and/or more severe nosebleeds should call 734-936-8051 for an urgent appointment.
Nosebleed Do’s and Don’ts
(Note: the following instructions are intended for adult and adolescent use only.)
Nosebleeds are rarely dangerous and can be easily managed at home if you know what to do and when to seek help.
- Remain calm.
- Lean forward. If there is blood in your mouth, spit it out; do not swallow it.
- Apply 3 sprays of decongestant nose spray, such as Afrin, into the side that is bleeding.
- Pinch the soft part of your nose shut.
- Pinch the nose for 10 minutes. Use a clock to keep track of time. Resist the urge to peek after a few minutes to see if your nose has stopped bleeding.
- After 10 minutes, let go of your nose. If it is still bleeding, soak a cotton ball with the nose spray. Place the cotton ball into the bleeding nostril and pinch for 10 minutes. Again, use a clock to time it.
- Once bleeding has stopped, do not blow your nose for 2 days.
- Check your blood pressure, if possible. High blood pressure can cause nosebleeds.
- Do not pack the nose with tissues or other household items like tampons. This can make the bleeding worse.
- Do not tilt your head back or lie flat. This may cause you to choke on blood. Blood in the stomach can make you sick to your stomach and cause vomiting
- Do not lift anything heavy, like groceries or perform physical activities or household chores such as vacuuming. Do not pick up young children and babies. It can take up to two full weeks to heal after a nosebleed.
When to Go to the Emergency Room
Nosebleeds are a nuisance but rarely an emergency. There are some situations, however, when nosebleeds require immediate medical attention:
- Bleeding that does not stop in 30 minutes.
- Bleeding that is very heavy, pouring down the back of your throat and out the front of your nose.
- Bleeding with other symptoms, like very high blood pressure, light-headedness, chest pain and/or rapid heart rate that may require treatment.
Why Come to Michigan for Treatment?
- We have expertise in treating all forms of nosebleeds, including those caused by hereditary conditions.
- We treat more than 84,000 patients every year.
- We take a multidisciplinary, step-by-step approach that takes you – as a whole person – into account.
- If you need us for surgery, know that we perform more than 7,000 surgeries every year. And, when it comes to surgery, experience counts.
Make an Appointment
To make an appointment, please call 734-936-8051. If you take anticoagulation medication and experience frequent/more severe nosebleeds, call us for an urgent appointment.