Anytime we see blood, it can be a little scary. With children who participate in sports, nosebleeds may occur if they have an injury to the face. Younger children are also susceptible at play should they take a tumble. When an adult suffers from a nosebleed, we get a bit more worried, but it is usually not a cause for concern.
Most common nosebleeds can be managed at home, so let’s look at why we get them, how to treat them, and when to consult a doctor.
Most Common Causes For A Nosebleed
The two most common reasons adults or children get a nosebleed, or Epistaxis, is dryness in the air or picking at the nose. Children seem to do more of the latter, but adults can be guilty as well. Touching and picking at the nose can be controlled to reduce the problem.
If you live in a dry, desert-like climate, it is less easy to change your situation.
The same is true for colder climates. You drive home with the car heater blowing directly on your face, and then you spend the night with the forced air heating in your home.
In addition, colds, sinus infections, and allergies increase the incidence of nosebleeds especially during certain seasons like the fall and spring.
Other reasons we can suffer from a nosebleed include:
- Injury to the nose.
- Taking anticoagulant medications like warfarin and coumadin usually prescribed after a heart attack.
- Using certain anti-inflammatory over the counter medications.
- Many doctors suggest patients take low dose aspirin which can cause bleeding.
- Any condition where someone’s blood doesn’t clot normally.
- Blowing the nose excessively like during a cold.
- Itching and scratching the nose.
- Drug use causing inflammation inside the nose.
- Alcohol abuse.
Managing Minor Nose Bleeds
The best remedy for a nosebleed is to lean slightly forward, use direct pressure by pinching the nostrils together, and breathe through your mouth. Do not lie down as the blood can enter the sinuses or your throat.
In addition, use ice if necessary, keep your head elevated above your heart and don’t bend down or lift heavy objects, and avoid hot liquids for 24 hours.
When To Seek Medical Care
Although nose bleeds are rarely life threatening, seek medical advice if you begin to have them more than once a week or if they begin to reoccur. Your physician may decide to alter the dose of some prescription medications.
More serious bleeds may need the nose to be cauterized. This involves burning the skin inside the nose.