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  » First Aid  »  Nosebleeds
Nosebleeds are common and usually harmless. Most are caused by minor injuries or from nose-picking. A nose-bleed may also occur after a few days of nose-blowing during a cold or upon arrival in a high-altitude area. Most stop within a few minutes and require no further treatment.

  • Have the person sit down with head angled slightly forward so the blood doesn't run back into the throat. Swallowed blood may make the person nauseated or gag.
  • If the blood comes from only one side, press the fleshy part of the nostril firmly toward the midline; if from both, pinch the nostrils together. Maintain pressure for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • If the bleeding continues when pressure is released, insert a twist of sterile gauze or twisted piece of clean cloth torn from a handkerchief or other similar material into the nostril. Make sure the end protrudes for easy removal. Do not use absorbent cotton or facial tissue, which will be difficult to remove.
  • Repeat the pressure for about 10 minutes, encouraging the person to breathe through the mouth.
  • If bleeding has stopped, the packing may be moistened and gently removed after 30 to 60 minutes. The nose should not be blown (not even gently!) during this time, as this may cause bleeding to resume.
  • If the bleeding is profuse or cannot be controlled within 30 minutes, or if nosebleeds recur frequently, go to a hospital emergency service for further care.
  • If the bleeding results from direct trauma to the nose, only gentle pressure should be applied and the nose should not be packed with cotton. Apply ice over and above the injury to decrease swelling and promote vasoconstriction.
  • If there is persistent bleeding, swelling, change in shape or alignment of the nose, or clear fluid discharges, the injury should be checked at a hospital emergency service.