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Nosebleeds are more common than you think. It happens to us suddenly. Without any obvious cause, bright red blood starts to stream from one nostril. And what's even worse? To majority of us who have had it at least once in our lifetime, nosebleeds or medically called epistaxes are often a mystery.
However, there's good news. Although it seems scary while your nose is bleeding and you're not sure why it's happening, let us tell you that a nosebleed isn't usually dangerous. You just need proper information on why a nosebleed happens, how to treat it and ways to prevent it. In this article we're going to talk about all these aspects of nosebleeds. Read on to find out.
What Is A Nose Bleed?
The most common type of nosebleed is anterior nosebleed wherein the blood comes from the frontal part of the nose. It occurs when blood vessels inside your nose break and bleed.
Another type is called the posterior nosebleed, in which the blood is comes from the back of your nose. In this case, the blood goes down a person's throat instead of the nostrils. Posterior nosebleed is more common in adults or in someone who has experienced injuries to the nose or face.
What Causes Nose Bleeds?
There are a number of things that can cause a nosebleed. The most common causes are dry air, colds, sinusitis, allergies, and at times nose picking as well.
Sometimes if the air around you is dry, either from heat or low humidity, the membranes inside our nose become very dry which causes an itchy crust to develop. Once you scratch or pick it, it causes bleeding. Nosebleeds also happen when your nasal membranes become irritated from allergies, colds or sinusitis. In such cases, blowing your nose repeatedly causes bleeding.
Also do note that, although the risk of death from nosebleeds is extremely low, extensive blood loss may occasionally lead to anaemia or require a transfusion.
What To Do If Your Nose Is Bleeding?
If your nose is bleeding, firstly, try your best to keep calm. The first aid recommendations suggest that you should be quietly seated, leaning forward and applying pressure to the front (soft) part of the nose. Get yourself something, such as tissues or paper towel, to catch the blood. Blow your nose gently to get rid of clots and breathe through your mouth. Do this for 10-15 minutes, and if your nose is still bleeding after 15 minutes, hold on to this position for another 10 minutes.
What If Your Nose Doesn't Stop Bleeding?
Most of the nosebleeds stop either on their own or by following the above steps above. If the bleeding persists for over 30 minutes, see a doctor. Doctors use various methods to apply direct pressure to the site of bleeding.
If you have recurrent but minor bleeds, try using nasal decongestant sprays or lubricants such as Vaseline or any other petroleum jelly.
Sesame oil-based nasal sprays can also be used for the lubrication of dry noses. It controls crusting that's associated with nosebleeds. But sesame oils, individually, are yet to be comprehensively assessed for this purpose.
If your bleeding doesn't stop after 20 minutes or the bleeding is from an injury or you're having trouble breathing, you should get emergency care immediately.
What If You Get Frequent Nose Bleeds?
If you have nosebleeds as frequent as more than once in a week, it's recommended to consult your healthcare provider. It's also taken into consideration whether other members of your family have issues of nosebleeds or other bleeding problem. Sometimes you're needed to undergo a blood test to check for anemia and clotting problems. Treatment basically depends on the cause-injuries, allergies, clotting problems, infections, etc.
Simple or the most general cases of nosebleeds can usually be managed with simple treatments. If the issue seems to be recurrent or serious then the first thing you should do is search for the underlying cause, and then address it with effective treatment.
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