First Aid Tips: Nosebleeds

Based on a module by Fred Mednick from the Connexions website’s Health Education Course

Introduction by Dr. Don Rose, Writer, Life Alert


Continuing our series on First Aid Tips, this article provides a useful overview of what to do if you or someone with you suffers a nosebleed.  --Don Rose


Nosebleed Causes

Typical causes of nosebleeds include:

  1. Nose injury.
  2. Strenuous activity.
  3. High blood pressure.
  4. Exposure to high altitudes.
  5. Blowing one’s nose too hard.

Alleviating Nosebleeds

Here are some tips for reducing the negative effects of a nosebleed:

  1. Lie down (or help the person with a nosebleed lie down).
  2. Lean slightly forward to prevent blood from running into the throat.
  3. Place cold, wet cloths on the nose in order to constrict the blood vessels in the nose and stop the bleeding.
  4. If blood is coming from only one nostril, press firmly at the top of that nostril.
  5. If both nostrils are bleeding, pinch nostrils together for at least 10 minutes.
  6. If bleeding continues, apply pressure for another 10 minutes.
  7. If the bleeding is the result of direct injury to the nose, only gentle pressure should be applied.
  8. If heavy bleeding persists or if nosebleeds recur frequently, consult a physician.

Closing Thoughts

If you are alone, experiencing a nosebleed, and cannot stop the bleeding (or the situation seems to be getting worse), the safest action is probably to go to the hospital or call 911. If you are not near a phone, cannot get to a phone or cannot punch in the numbers, you can still get immediate help if you are a member of Life Alert; simply press your Life Alert help button to get in touch with live dispatchers within seconds, 24/7. They can send medical, fire or police assistance to you, which will arrive in a matter of minutes. Life Alert members who are not at home can also use a special one-button 911 cell phone (an optional Life Alert feature). If you don’t currently have Life Alert, see below for links to information on this valuable service.

The article above is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License. The information provided is, to the best of our knowledge, reliable and accurate. However, while Life Alert always strives to provide true, precise and consistent information, we cannot guarantee 100 percent accuracy. Readers are encouraged to review the original article, and use any resource links provided to gather more information before drawing conclusions and making decisions.

Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.

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