Every once in a while we like to provide valuable health information to our patients in form of a blog. Today I want to talk about nosebleeds. We see multiple patients a week for nosebleeds. If not stopped, a nose bleed can become deadly. In this blog I want to emphasize the seriousness of this condition and knowing when to see your otolaryngologist.
There are two types of nose bleeds, anterior and posterior. Anterior nose bleeds are more common occurring at the lower part of the septum, which is the semi-rigid wall separating the two nostrils. The flow of blood start usually out of one nostril only. A posterior nose bleed is less common but usually most server. The posterior nose bleed may begin high and deep within the nose and flow down the back of the mouth and throat. Almost always stopping this kind of nosebleed requires assistance from a physician.
How to stop an Anterior nosebleed:
- Stay calm, or help a young child stay calm. A person who is agitated may bleed more profusely than someone who has been reassured and supported.
- Keep head higher than the level of the heart. Sit up.
- Lean slightly forward so the blood won’t drain in the back of the throat.
- Gently blow any clotted blood out of the nose. Spray a nasal decongestant in the nose.
- Using the thumb and index finger, pinch all the soft parts of the nose. Do not pack the inside of the nose with gauze or cotton.
- Hold the position for five minutes. If it’s still bleeding, hold it again for an additional 10 minutes
How to prevent a nosebleed:
- Keep the lining of the nose moist by gently applying a light coating of petroleum jelly or an antibiotic ointment with a cotton swab three times daily, including at bedtime. Commonly used products include Bacitracin, A and D Ointment, Eucerin, Polysporin, and Vaseline.
- Keep children’s fingernails short to discourage nose-picking.
- Counteract the effects of dry air by using a humidifier.
- Use a saline nasal spray to moisten dry nasal membranes.
- Quit smoking. Smoking dries out the nose and irritates it.
You should see an otolaryngologist if your nosebleeds are frequent. Your physician might use cautery or nose packing to stop the bleed. If you can’t get the bleeding to stop remember high volume of blood loss can turn into a medical emergency. Never hesitate to contact your physician.
I hope this blog provides you some valuable information about our noses. Nosebleeds are not a joke! Pay attention to your symptoms and know when to get help.
For more information visit www.entnet.org/content/nosebleeds.
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