Nosebleeds, while sometimes aggressive and very messy, are usually extremely easy to handle. They are very common, especially in children between 2 and 10 year old and adults between 50 and 80 years old.
A nosebleed seems fairly straightforward: blood is exiting the body from your nose. There are two common types, anterior and posterior. Anterior nosebleeds make up over 90 percent of all nosebleeds and come from a ruptured blood vessel at the front of the nose. These are easily taken care of. Posterior are far less common and occur mostly in elderly people. They come from a broken artery in the back of the nose and can require admission to the hospital along with treatment from an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Trauma to the nose, such as a blow to the face or trauma inside of the nose, is a primary cause or rupturing. On rare occasions, nosebleeds may occur due to an underlying disease process, such as the inability of blood to clot. Additionally, high blood pressure may contribute (but are never the sole reason for their occurrences.)
In most cases, bleeding involves only one nostril. If the blood flow is heavy enough, the blood may spill into the other nostril and cause blood to drip from both nostrils. In rare cases, people may spit or possibly vomit blood that drips back into the throat or stomach.
Home treatment can be extremely straightforward. Remain calm, sit up straight, and tilt your head backwards. Pinch your nostrils together with your thumb and index finger for ten minutes and spit out any blood that may flow to your mouth.
Although nosebleeds are easily treated from home, they may need to be discussed with a doctor if:
- You have repeated episodes
- You have additional bleeding from places other than the nose
- You bruise easily
- You are on blood-thinning drugs, including aspirin
- You have any underlying disease that may affect blood clotting
- You recently went through chemotherapy
Nosebleeds require a visit to the hospital if:
- You continue to bleed after pinching the nose for 10 minutes
- You have repeated episodes of nosebleeds over a short period of time
- You feel like you may pass out from being dizzy
- You have a rapid heartbeat or trouble breathing
- You are coughing or vomiting blood
- You have a rash or a body temperature over 101.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Your doctor stresses that you visit the emergency room