The nose is a part of the body that is very rich in blood vessels (vascular) and is situated in a vulnerable position on the face. As a result, any trauma to the face can cause a bloody nose, and bleeding may be profuse. Nosebleeds can occur spontaneously when the nasal membranes dry out, crust, and crack, as is common in dry climates, or during the winter months when the air is dry and warm from household heaters. People are more susceptible if they are taking medications that prevent normal blood clotting (Coumadin, warfarin, aspirin, or any anti-inflammatory medication). Other predisposing factors include infection, trauma, allergic and non-allergic rhinitis, hypertension, alcohol abuse, and inherited bleeding problems.
To stop a nosebleed, you should: 1. Pinch all the soft parts of the nose together between your thumb and index finger. 2. Press firmly toward the face - compressing the pinched parts of the nose against the bones of the face. 3. Hold the nose for at least 5 minutes (timed by the clock). Repeat as necessary until the nose has stopped bleeding. 4. Sit quietly, keeping the head higher than the level of the heart; that is, sit up or lie with the head elevated. Do not lay flat or put your head between your legs. 5. Apply ice (crushed in a plastic bag or washcloth) to nose and cheeks.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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