Nosebleeds or epistaxis are common and occur over wide range of age groups from the very young to the very old. Majority of nosebleeds occur from an area known as Little’s area which is approximately a centimetre behind the entrance of the nasal cavity and so by applying direct pressure to the cartilaginous portion of the nose, one is applying pressure directly to the affected area.
These nosebleeds are fairly easily controlled utilising the technique described below:
As soon as the nosebleed begins it is best to blow your nose, so that any blood clots that may keep the bleeding vessels from contracting can be expelled.
Thereafter immediately spray a nasal decongestant into both nostrils. Spray the nostril where there is no bleeding first.
Then firmly pinch your nose for 5 to 10 minutes.
This is done by placing your thumb and index finger on either side of the soft cartilaginous part of the nose and holding your nose firmly.
Sit leaning forward, so that you may spit out any blood. Swallowing blood can irritate the stomach, causing discomfort, nausea and vomiting. By spitting out the blood in a container it is easier to estimate the amount of blood lost.
You may put a cold cloth or one containing ice just above the bridge of your nose. If more hands are available then a cold cloth or one containing ice can be placed in the nape of your neck as well.
By doing this you are transmitting cold into the bone in the area and encouraging constriction of the vessels supplying the nose with blood.
It is very important to remain calm and in majority of instances this is all that is needed to control the nosebleed.
If bleeding is not controlled with these measures then you need to contact a doctor or present yourself to the nearest casualty department for further management.
Prevention of further nosebleeds
Immediately after a nose bleed & for the next 48 hours, to prevent further bleeding & to allow healing to occur.
Don’t eat or drink any hot food or liquids
Don’t take any hot baths or showers and don’t use hot water on your face when washing
Don’t sit in the sun, cook or sit in a hot kitchen
Avoid physical exercise
Everything cold is good for a nose bleed, as the cold causes the vessels to constrict and everything hot causes the vessels to dilate increasing the possibility of bleeding.
Keep your nose moist. This can be done by using a salt spray, an oil or cream. Examples of this would be commercial salt sprays such a Salex, Sterimar, Flo Nasal Spray, for oils it could be a commercially available product such as Nozoil or simple oils found in the home such as sunflower oil, olive oil, almond oil or sesame oil provided one is not allergic to any of these. Recommended creams would be Savlon cream and Dettol cream, both of which are antiseptic creams.
If taking Aspirin or Disprin it is recommended that these are stopped for at least 5 days following a nosebleed.