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Nosebleed Instructions (Epistaxis):
Nosebleeds can occur for a variety of reasons or combination of reasons. A spontaneous nosebleed is not a worrisome issue, but it is bothersome. A significant health issue is generally not the cause of nosebleeds, rather it is generally related to irritated tissues in the nose or irritations the result in injury to an underlying blood vessel in the nose.
If your nose should start bleeding:
- Sit down and gently squeeze the soft portion of the nose between your thumb and finger (so that the nostrils are closed)for about 5-10 minutes. Lean forward to avoid swallowing the blood and breathe through your mouth. Wait at least 5 minutes before checking if the bleeding has stopped. Almost all nose bleeds can be controlled in this way if sufficient time is allowed for the bleeding to stop.
- You also may place a cotton ball in your nostril after soaking it in a topical decongestant spray (i.e. Afrin) or you can just spray Afrin in the nostril that is bleeding
- It may help to apply cold compresses or ice across the bridge of the nose.
- If the bleeding continues for more than 30 minutes, despite the above efforts, it is best to be seen in the Emergency Room or at the ENT physicians office
General tips for after a nosebleed:
- Avoid nose blowing (sneeze with your mouth open)
- Avoid picking or putting fingers in your nose.
- Stop taking intranasal medications if you are experiencing bleeding
- Take it easy; elevated blood pressure can make nose bleeds worse (but is generally not the cause of a nose bleed)
- Avoid aspirin or medications containing aspirin. This thins out the blood and a single aspirin can thin the blood for up to a week
- Avoid blood thinners of all types (Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaxa)
- Avoid smoking as this irritates the nasal surfaces
- Moisturize the nostril(s) afterward with Bacitracin Ointment, Vaseline, or Ponares nose moisturizer (available at the Apothecary Shop or Civic Center Pharmacy)
If seen by the E.R. or ENT physician and your nose was cauterized and no packing was placed at your visit:
- Apply antibiotic ointment (i.e. Bacitracin, Bactroban, etc.) to your nasal cavity, three times a day. This can be accomplished with a Q-tip or by filling your nostril with the ointment and then massaging the soft part of your nose towards the middle.
If seen by the E.R. or ENT physician and you have packing in your nose after your visit:
- It is important to spray saline spray in your nose at least 3 times a day (Ocean Spray, Ayrs, or similar over-the-counter product)
- Do not remove the packing.
- Take antibiotics if prescribed.