What causes a nosebleed?
The nose can bleed for a variety of reasons:
– Allergies, infections, or dryness can cause itching and lead to picking of the nostril
– Vigorous nose blowing can rupture superficial nasal blood vessels in the elderly and the young
– Clotting disorders that run in families or are due to medications
– Fractures of the nose or the base of the skull can cause bleeding and should be regarded seriously when the bleeding follows a head injury
– Rarely, tumors (both malignant and nonmalignant) have to be considered, particularly in the older patient or in smokers
What can be done to stop a simple nosebleed?
First, help the person stay calm, especially a young child. A person who is agitated may bleed more than someone who’s been reassured and supported. Then:
– Pinch all the soft parts of the nose together between your thumb and the side of your index finger or soak a cotton ball with Afrin, Neo-Synephrine or Dura-Vent spray and place this into the nostril
– Press firmly but gently with your thumb and the side of your index finger toward the face, compressing the pinched parts of the nose against the bones of the face
– Hold that position for a full five minutes by the clock
– Keep the head higher than the level of the heart. Sit up or lie back a little with the head elevated.
– Apply ice – crushed in a plastic bag or washcloth – to nose and cheeks