Nosebleeds, known medically as epistaxis, are extremely common. Approximately 60% of people will experience at least one nosebleed in their life. Most commonly they affect children ages 2 to 10 and adults ages 50 to 80. While nosebleeds can appear alarming, only about 10% warrant medical treatment. Below we explain how to handle a nosebleed and when to seek medical help.
What to Do During a Nosebleed
Most nosebleeds can be treated at home. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Nosebleeds are typically short-lived and not a serious problem.
If you or your child gets a nosebleed, be sure to…
- Reassure the child (or yourself) that everything is fine and there is no need to worry.
- Sit upright and lean slightly forward.
- Do not lean back or lie down, as this can result in swallowing blood, leading to coughing or vomiting.
- Gently pinch the tip of the nose between two fingers and breathe through the mouth.
- Do not fill the nose with gauze or tissue, and avoid spraying anything into the nose.
- Apply pressure for at least 10 minutes, even if bleeding stops sooner.
When to Talk to a Doctor
Sometimes, chronic nosebleeds are the sign of a more serious underlying condition. Be sure to talk to a doctor if the nosebleeds…
- Happen frequently
- Switch from a familiar pattern to a new one
- Occur with chronic congestion or signs of easy bleeding/bruising
- Begin after starting a new medication
- Require regular trips to the emergency room
When to Seek Immediate Help
In rare circumstances, a nosebleed may be severe enough to warrant urgent medical attention. Visit an emergency room if…
- The nosebleed continues after 20 minutes of applied pressure
- It follows a head injury, fall or blow to the face
- The nose appears misshapen or broken
- You or your child has an intense headache or fever
- There are signs of too much blood loss, like looking pale, being fatigued, feeling dizzy or passing out
- You or your child begins coughing up blood
- You or your child has a bleeding disorder or takes blood thinners
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Texas ENT & Allergy today.