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First Aid: Nose Bleeds

Medically reviewed by Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD · General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

Written by Den Alibudbud · Updated Dec 14, 2022

First Aid: Nose Bleeds

Nosebleeds, or epistaxis, is common, and people will come across this a few times in their life. However, not everyone knows why they get it or how to treat it. Most nosebleeds are harmless. However, it’s important to know when to head to seek medical attention. Learn how to stop nose bleeds and apply these nose bleed first aid steps.

The Kinds of Nosebleeds

There are 2 types of nosebleeds:

  • Anterior nosebleed. Here, the blood vessels in the front part of your nose break then bleed.
  • Posterior nosebleed. It happens in the deepest part or the back of your nose. Blood flows down the back of your throat. It is important to note that posterior nosebleeds are the dangerous ones.

What Causes a Nosebleed?

There are many reasons why you could get a nosebleed.

Dry Air

The most common reason that nosebleeds occur is dry air. If you have a central heating system and live in a dry climate, it can dry out your nasal membranes.

The inside of your nose can start to crust because of the dryness. The crusting can feel irritated or itchy and if you pick or scratch your nose, there is a chance that it could bleed.

Decongestants and Antihistamines

If you take decongestants or antihistamines, such as the ones for colds, allergies, or sinus problems, it could also dry out your nasal membranes and create nosebleeds, especially if taken for long periods. If you frequently blow your nose, it could also cause nosebleeds.

Other Issues

Of course, there are still other potential causes for nosebleeds, such as

Additionally, certain conditions or illnesses, such as cancer, blood clotting disorders, bleeding disorders, or high blood pressure, can cause nosebleeds.

Are you wondering if nasal spray making nose bleed? Well if you frequently use it, the bottle’s tip can irritate your nose and lead to nosebleeds.

How Can I Treat Nosebleeds at Home?

Most nosebleeds are rather manageable and painless. In fact, there are many nose bleed first aid tips and home remedies that you can easily do.

First Aid

If you have blood dripping from your nostril, then you have an anterior nosebleed. You can easily follow nosebleed first aid steps to deal with an anterior nosebleed.

  • Squeeze your nose’s soft part while you sit up. You can decrease blood pressure in your nose’s veins when you stay upright.
  • Be sure that your nostrils are completely closed. Keep your nostrils shut for about 10 minutes, slightly lean forward, then breathe through your mouth.
  • When you try to make your nose stop bleeding, it would be ideal if you do not lie down nor tilt your head backwards. When you lie down and tilt your head backwards, there is a chance that you can swallow blood which can lead to stomach irritation or accidentally aspirate the blood into the lungs instead.
  • After 10 minutes, you can release your nostrils and check your nose to find out if the bleeding stopped. If the bleeding persists, do the steps above again.

If you want to close off your small blood vessels, there are also other simple things you could try, such as using a nasal spray decongestant. You could also place a cold compress on your nose bridge.


While it is easy enough to try stopping most anterior nosebleeds, it would be best to find ways to avoid getting nosebleeds. For instance, getting enough vitamin C in your diet could help because it can make your blood vessels stronger. However, it is not a long-term cure or reliever.

As stated earlier, dry environments can cause nosebleeds. You can use a saline solution with water to moisturize and soothe your nasal membranes. A simple and healthy way to also keep your nasal membranes moisturized is by drinking lots of water.

Should I Worry About a Nosebleed?

Getting the occasional nosebleed or a sudden one is usually nothing to worry about. However, you might have a serious problem if you regularly have nosebleeds.

Anterior Nosebleeds Are Common

Most anterior nosebleeds can be dealt with at home. However, if your nosebleed persists for more than 20 minutes, it would be best for you to seek professional help right away.

Object in Nose

If you have a foreign object inside your nose that is causing your nose to bleed, it would also be best for you to go to a doctor. Sometimes nose bleed first aid steps may not be effective in more serious cases. Head to the doctor so that they can remove the foreign object properly and avoid further damage to your nose.

Posterior Nosebleed

It would be wise if you did not attempt to treat a posterior nosebleed by yourself. They are not as common as anterior nosebleeds, and they are usually very serious.

If you have an injury, like a punch to the face or a fall, and your nose begins to bleed, it would be ideal to visit your doctor. It is especially good to do so if you think you broke your nose.

If you notice there is more blood than normal, it could be a sign that there is something wrong and you may need professional medical help. Additionally, if you are struggling to breathe, then you should consult a professional right away.

Key Takeaways

Most nosebleeds are harmless and can be easily treated at home. Be sure to remember these nose bleed first aid steps in instances that may need to apply them. However, be sure to consult a doctor should nose bleeds occur often and when they follow serious nose injuries.

Learn more about First Aid here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD

General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

Written by Den Alibudbud · Updated Dec 14, 2022

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