Nosebleeds — No Big Deal Or Cause For Concern?

If you’ve had a nosebleed, you know they can be scary — and frightening to see. But nosebleeds are seldom a sign of something more serious and can often be treated at home. Learn what you can do to avoid nosebleeds, what causes them, and when it’s time to call your doctor.

Common Nosebleed Causes

The skin inside your nose is delicate and filled with tiny blood vessels. That’s why even a minor injury to your nose can make it bleed. Common causes of nosebleeds include:

  • Picking your nose
  • Blowing your nose really hard
  • Dry air, which can make the inside of your nose dry and cracked
  • A blocked or stuffy nose caused by a cold
  • A sinus infection 
  • Overusing nasal decongestants 
  • Daily aspirin or blood thinner use
  • High altitude

Are Nosebleeds Ever Serious?

Nosebleeds small

Almost all nosebleeds can be easily treated at home, and are nothing to be concerned about. But occasionally they can indicate a health problem — like high blood pressureatherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), or a bleeding disorder. These nosebleeds start in the large blood vessels in the back of the nose, and are more common in older adults. 

If you have frequent or heavy nosebleeds, talk with your doctor. She can help you figure out what’s causing them, and give you options for treatment. 

Almost all nosebleeds can be easily treated at home, and are nothing to be concerned about.

When To Seek Medical Care

In most cases, you can stop a nosebleed yourself and need no special medical attention. To prevent the bleeding from starting again, don’t blow your nose for 12 hours after the bleeding stops. And don’t pick your nose. This will allow a strong blood clot to form. In addition, don’t drink alcohol or hot liquid for the next two days. Alcohol and hot liquids can dilate blood vessels in your nose, causing more bleeding.

Seek medical help immediately if you: 

  • Have bleeding that lasts for more than 15 to 30 minutes, or is severe
  • Have a nosebleed caused by an injury like a car accident, fall, or blow to the face
  • Feel weak or faint
  • Have trouble breathing
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