First-aid tips for nosebleed known as Epistaxis

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Bloody noseNosebleed or medical term epistaxis is a very common medical problem and up to 60 percent of the general population experiences it once in their lifetime. But the good news is that only 10 percent of the time it requires medical attention. For majority of the cases, it would resolve with simple first-aid measures at home. Nosebleed is more common in children under 10 years of old and adults over 50 years old. Most common causes include vigorous nose picking, foreign object in the nose especially in young children, common cold, allergic rhinitis, dry, hot weather and injury to the nose. In adults, it can be due to high blood pressure, chemical irritants (cigarette smoke, cocaine and etc), some medications (aspirin, warfarin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and other medical conditions.

If you or someone you know experience nosebleed, first try these simple steps to stop the bleeding:
• Sit down and lean forward slightly at the waist. Do not lie down. You want to avoid the blood going into your throat.
• Try to breathe through your mouth.
• Gently squeeze the soft part of your nose (nasal alae) and apply pressure continuously for at least 5 minutes. Do not squeeze the bony part of your nose.
• Check to see if the bleeding stops in 5 minutes. If not, you can continue applying pressure for another 5 minutes.
• You may apply cold compressor over the bridge of your nose. Do not put anything inside of your nose.
• You may use over-the-counter decongestant spray such as oxymetazolin (Afrin, Neo-Synephrine, Vicks and etc) if available. Spray into the bleeding side of the nose and apply pressure for about 5 minutes.
• Once the bleeding stops, avoid blowing or picking your nose for several hours.

When to seek medical attention:
It is important to seek medical attention in some cases. If you have followed those simple steps and your bleeding is not controlled after 20 minutes of applying pressure on your nose, go to the nearest emergency department. Also, if you have nosebleed after the injury to the face or nose, see a physician immediately.

Nosebleed may occur for no particular reason but there are measures you can take to reduce future episodes of nosebleed in some cases.
• Avoid frequent nose picking or blowing your nose
• Use saline nasal spray or gel to keep your nose moist especially during winter months. You may use it two to three times daily in each nostril
• Use a humidifier in your bedroom at night
• Quit smoking if you smoke. Avoid places with cigarette smoke
• Talk to your doctor if your nosebleed is related to your allergy symptoms
• Talk to your doctor if you have a nosebleed after starting a new medication

Contributed by Patricia Hsiao M.D.

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