Nosebleed

Nosebleed

Nosebleeds occur usually after an impact to the nose and may be associated with a fracture. However, they can occur after relatively minor injuries or be completely spontaneous.

Symptoms

Bleeding may occur from either one or both nostrils. Blood flow can range from very light to heavy and may last for a few seconds to 10 minutes or more. Blood in the throat may cause nausea.

Causes

A nosebleed is usually caused by an impact to the nose which ruptures one or more small blood vessels in the nose. Moderate to hard impacts should be investigated for a fracture and to ensure that the airways are not affected.

Blowing the nose very hard or picking the nose can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels of the walls of the nose, resulting in minor bleeds.

Nosebleeds can occur spontaneously, without any trauma to the face. Colds and flu, sinusitis, hayfever, high altitudes and snorting recreational drugs can be a factor.

Treatment

Pinch the nose just below the bony part of the nose. Sit down, leaning forwards so the blood doesn't run down the throat. Breathe through the mouth!

Keep pinching the nose for up to 20 minutes, checking for bleeding every 5 minutes. If bleeding is very heavy or doesn't stop after 20 minutes, seek medical attention immediately.

Following a nosebleed, try to leave the nose alone, don't blow it hard and don't move the head quickly for up to 12 hours after the bleed stops. If they occur regularly with no trauma to the nose, visit your doctor.

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