1. Health

Video:How to Treat A Nosebleed

with Rod Brouhard

Knowing what to do when a nosebleed springs on you is crucial to treating it correctly. Learn how to stop a nosebleed, and see under what circumstances you should go to a doctor.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Health Videos
  • First Aid Videos

Transcript:How to Treat A Nosebleed

Hi, I'm Rod Brouhard, your Guide to First Aid at About.com.

Causes of Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are common problems for kids and some adults, particularly in the winter months, when furnaces and fireplaces dry out the air in our homes and the membranes in our noses.

Generally, nosebleeds are caused by damage to the mucous membranes in the nostrils. In kids, the most common causes are from injury, either through digital trauma – picking their noses – or from an object, such as a ball, striking them in the nose.

Adults can get nosebleeds the same way as kids, but when an adult’s nose starts to bleed for apparently no reason, it could be an indicator of a dangerous medical condition, such as sudden high blood pressure. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are getting nosebleeds, especially without injury.

How to Treat Nosebleed

There are just two steps to treating a nosebleed. First, lean forward. The tendency is to lean back with a nosebleed to keep the blood from dripping. Unfortunately, this can lead to swallowing blood, which will irritate the lining of the stomach and lead to vomiting.

Pinch the Nose

Second, pinch the sides of the nose against the hard inner cartilage with enough force to stop the bleeding. Make sure your fingers are on the hard part of the nose about halfway up; don’t completely close the nostrils. If you’re correctly pinching the nose, the victim should still be able to breath through his nose while you hold pressure.

Nosebleed Timing

Don’t let go for five minutes. It will take at least this long for the bleeding to stop completely. If you let go before the five minutes are up, pinch again and start the clock over.

Let go after five minutes of continuous pressure. If bleeding resumes, pinch the nose again for an additional ten minutes. If necessary, you can repeat this procedure one more time for ten more minutes.

If a nosebleed doesn’t stop after the second or third try, it’s time to see a doctor. If the victim complains of being weak, dizzy or light-headed, call 911 immediately.

Nosebleeds and Ice Packs

Placing ice on the bridge of the nose can help reduce the bleeding, but you must still hold pressure. Wrap the ice pack in cloth to avoid frostbite.

After a Nosebleed

After a nosebleed has been stopped, don’t let the victim blow his nose, even though it will feel stuffed up. This will blow out the clots that have formed and start the bleeding all over again.

Nosebleeds are particularly dangerous in people taking blood thinners, so make sure to call 911 for those victims.

For more information, visit us on the Web at firstaid.about.com.
About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.