First Aid for Nosebleeds

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What causes nosebleeds?

While nosebleeds often look frightening, most of them are not serious and can be easily treated, for example, at home. The inside of the nose is especially prone to bleeding because of the abundance of blood vessels inside the nose that help warm and humidify the air we breathe. The blood vessels in the nasal passages are also very close to the surface and are therefore quite vulnerable to injury.

The majority of nosebleeds arise from small blood vessels located in the front of the nasal passages. Rarely, nosebleeds come from larger blood vessels in the back of the nose. Nosebleeds from larger vessels are more serious and may be due to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or significant injury to the nose.

Most nosebleeds are caused by dryness (for example, from heated indoor air in winter) or minor mechanical damage from picking the nose. In children, nosebleeds can occur if they insert objects into the nose. Other factors that predispose to nosebleeds include:

Taking medications such as warfarin (Coumadin), or aspirin that interfere with the normal clotting of blood can also increase the risk of nosebleeds.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/6/2016

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