First Aid

Nosebleed (Epistaxis)

Nosebleeds are a common injury that is not usually considered a sign of danger.

It is the loss of blood from the tissues lining the nose and occurs more often in one nostril, often caused by dry air, and nosebleeds vary from simple that stops on its own to severe that needs immediate medical attention.

Types of nosebleeds:
  • Anterior nosebleeds (the most common): They arise from the front of the nose, and cause blood to flow through the nostrils. This type is usually not serious.
  • Posterior nosebleeds: They come from the back of the nasal passage, near the throat and are less common than anterior nosebleeds, but they can be serious and can cause a lot of blood loss.
Causes of nosebleeds:
The inside of the nose contains a lot of blood vessels close to the surface of the nose so it is easy to get infected.
  • Most nosebleeds are caused by cold or dry air.
  • Allergic rhinitis or a cold can trigger rhinitis.
  • Injury to the face or nose directly (such as: a fall or a bicycle accident).
  • Rarely, nosebleeds may be caused by a serious problem (such as bleeding disorders, blood vessel abnormalities, or a nasal polyp).
  • Medicines, for example when taking blood-thinning medications (such as: aspirin and warfarin), as the person is more likely to have a nosebleed and a trouble stopping the nosebleed once it starts.
  • Overuse of decongestant nasal sprays.
  • As a result of a side effect of the use of steroid nasal sprays used to treat allergic rhinitis.
Causes of frequent nosebleeds:
  • Constant exposure to dry air
  • Ongoing use of steroid nasal sprays used to treat allergies or nasal congestion.
  • Frequent colds.
In some cases, frequent nosebleeds can be a sign of a bleeding disorder and often there are other symptoms (such as: frequent bruising in different areas and bleeding more than expected after minor injuries), and it may also be a sign of high blood pressure or the presence of a nasal polyp.

When to go to the emergency:
  • ​I​f the bleeding is severe and difficult to breathe.
  • ​If the patient is pale in color or feels tired.
  • If the bleeding does not stop even after first aid.
  • If the bleeding occurs after surgery close to the nose or if the patient has a nasal polyp.
  • If the bleeding occurs after a facial injury.
  • If the patient is taking anticoagulant medications (such as: aspirin, clopidogrel, and warfarin) and the nosebleeds do not stop.
  • If nosebleeds are frequent, bruises appear on the body, or bleeding from other places, and the current bleeding does not stop.
  • If the bleeding is severe and the patient suffers from chest pain or feels dizzy.
First aid for a nosebleed:
  • Bend slightly forward while sitting or standing, and avoid lying down or tilting the head backwards; Because this will cause swallowing blood and vomiting.
  • Hold the nose from the soft (not bony) part on both sides, and avoid pressure on one side only, even if the bleeding is only on one side.
  • Press on the nose for at least 5 minutes for children, and 10 to 15 minutes for adults, while not decompressing the nose to discover whether the bleeding has stopped or not until after the specified time has passed.
  • Cold compresses or an ice bag can be placed on the nose, as it helps blood vessels contract.
  • Repeat the previous steps if the bleeding does not stop, while applying pressure on the nose for a period of not less than 30 minutes. If the bleeding does not stop, you must go to the emergency room immediately.
  • Avoid sniffing or blowing your nose for several hours after a nosebleed.
Prevention of nosebleeds:
If you experience frequent nosebleeds, the following measures may help reduce your chances of developing a nosebleed:
  • Keeping the house cool and using an air humidifier; To add moisture to the indoor air of the house, especially when the air is very dry.
  • maintaining nasal moisture using saline nasal spray or saline gel; To prevent nasal linings from drying out especially in winter.
  • Avoid scratching the nose, and when doing so, the nails must be cut well to avoid injury

Last Update : 15 May 2023 12:34 AM
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