Chances are, you’ve had a nosebleed at some point in your life, whether you took an elbow to the face in gym class or experienced irritation from a cold. In the vast majority of cases, nosebleeds are mild, over quickly, and not a cause for concern.
However, it’s estimated that about 10% of nose bleeds are severe enough to require treatment or medical attention. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of a serious nosebleed, as well as when to seek medical help.
What Causes a Nosebleed?
Minor nosebleeds are often caused by things like nasal allergies, dryness or blowing your nose too hard. Heavier, more severe nosebleeds usually have different causes, such as:
- Trauma from a blow to the head or other injury
- Bleeding disorders
- Extremely high blood pressure
- Taking blood thinners
- Certain genetic conditions
- Vascular malformations
- Head and neck cancer
Signs Your Nosebleed Requires Medical Attention
Seek immediate attention for your nosebleed under any of the following conditions:
- It lasts longer than 20-30 minutes
- You experience heavy bleeding
- You feel dizzy or weak
- It was caused by a blow to the head
- You are swallowing a lot of blood
- You are having difficulty breathing
Similarly, you may want to seek medical help if you have a history of serious nosebleeds, have a medical condition or take medication that prevents your blood from clotting properly, or you’ve had multiple nosebleeds accompanied by headaches.
Treatment and Prevention Options
Minor nosebleeds can be managed at home. Some suggestions include:
- Nasal drops or sprays to help prevent dryness
- Humidifier to avoid dryness
- Blowing your nose gently when you have allergies or a cold
- If your nosebleeds are caused by allergies, take medication and/or avoid triggers. This may mean taking an antihistamine before going to Huntsville State Park, or avoiding going out when pollen levels are high.
Treatment for Serious Nose Bleeds
Your treatment and prevention options may depend on the cause of your nosebleed. For example, if you are experiencing nosebleeds due to high blood pressure, getting that condition under control should help prevent future serious nosebleeds.
Additional treatment and prevention options include:
- Nasal packing, which involves inserting gauze into the nose to stop bleeding
- Cauterizing the area of bleeding with a chemical swab or an electrical device
- Surgical procedures such as tying off or blocking a blood vessel
- A change of prescription or dosage if caused by medication
If you do get a nosebleed, try not to panic. Most are harmless and require minimal at-home care. If you are concerned about frequent or persistent nosebleeds and wish to schedule an appointment or speak with an allergy expert, call Texas ENT & Allergy today.