How to Stop a Nosebleed

By: Adrian Cruce

Most nosebleeds aren’t cause for alarm and can usually be treated at home without visiting a physician, however if bleeding continues for over 15 minutes or is accompanied by other indicators of serious illness such as uncontrollable bleeding from other areas or an offensive smell then medical advice should be sought immediately.

Direct pressure should be applied directly to the site of bleeding. Pinch the nose tightly between thumb and forefinger for about 10 minutes (according to your clock).


If you experience a nosebleed, seeking medical assistance immediately is essential to finding its source and treating it in order to stop further bleeding and possibly avoid complications like a nose infection.

An unfortunate source of nasal bleeding is Kiesselbach’s Plexus in front of the nasal septum, where blood vessels converge. This area can become irritated when exposed to cold and dry air or subjected to activities like bending over, picking at, or accidentally blowing one’s nose accidentally. An impaired nasal septum often contributes to turbulent flow through this region which inflames its lining causing nosebleeds.

Bleeding from the nose is a relatively normal phenomenon that typically indicates no serious issue; however, it’s wise to visit your healthcare provider to ensure there’s nothing else underlying this bleed. Frequent nosebleeds should not be taken as normal but must be investigated further as these could be symptoms of undiagnosed conditions like arterial disease, high blood pressure or bleeding disorders that must be properly addressed by medical providers.

First aid treatment for a nosebleed includes pinching both nostrils closed for approximately 10 minutes until bleeding stops, applying pressure to blood vessels to stop their flow and eventually clot them shut. Squeeze together soft areas of the nose using your thumb and index finger while breathing through your mouth as necessary during this period of time.

Apply a thick lubricant, such as petroleum jelly or saline solution, to your nose to keep it hydrated and reduce risk of nosebleed. In winter it’s helpful to use a vaporizer; during the summer use an essential oils-infused spray instead to keep humidity levels within your nose at an optimum level and stop cold, dry air irritating its delicate lining and cause nosebleeds.

If the nosebleed is severe or doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of pressure, or does not respond to initial treatment methods such as nasal packing or cauterizing (burning) of the area to seal off bleeding blood vessels, medical professionals can provide additional treatment like packing the nose or cauterizing (burning). They may spray an anesthetic in your nostril prior to performing these procedures.


Though spotting blood running from one’s nose may be alarming, most cases of epistaxis (nosebleeds) can usually be managed at home. On rare occasions however, severe or even life-threatening nosebleeds require medical assistance and require urgent medical intervention.

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The inside of the nose contains delicate tissue with numerous blood vessels that are easily damaged by even minor injuries such as scratches. A single cut or puncture can lead to these vessels becoming injured and bleeding profusely; often near the front of the nasal septum (the wall that separates nostrils). These bleeding episodes are known as anterior nosebleeds; if bleeding persists despite pinching nostrils closed, leaning forward and breathing through mouth for 15 minutes without success, medical assistance should be sought immediately.

At times, nosebleeds may result from an underlying health condition which hinders your body’s ability to form blood clots; such conditions include kidney disease, liver disease and chronic alcohol consumption. They may also occur from taking certain medications like prescription blood thinners and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin; while hereditary bleeding disorders like hemophilia could also contribute to nosebleeds.

Nosebleeds typically happen suddenly and don’t last long, with most clots dissolving within several days after being formed. People should try to avoid irritating factors like tobacco smoke and chemical fumes while not picking or blowing their nose or dropping anything heavy onto their head while waiting.

Maintaining humidified indoor air and refraining from picking or forceful blowing of the nose are both effective measures to help avoid nosebleeds, particularly during changes of season when dry indoor air causes increased incidences. A nosebleed could also indicate serious issues like an untreated deviated septum, narrowed nostril opening or tumor in your nasal passageway.

An unexpected nosebleed could also be an indicator of sinusitis. When this happens, doctors typically prescribe antibiotics or other medication to combat the infection; in more serious cases, packing might need to be placed inside your nose for added support.


Most nosebleeds aren’t medical emergencies, but they can still be annoying and even potentially life-threatening if left uncontrolled. When experiencing a nosebleed it’s important to sit down immediately and pinch any soft areas of your nose firmly while breathing through the mouth to stop any blood draining down into your throat that may cause you to choke or have an upset stomach. Furthermore, lean forward and catch any blood that falls onto a pillow or floor so as to avoid inhaling any of it yourself.

Method 1 is often effective at treating nosebleeds. Pinch the area between your end of nose and the hard ridge that forms your bridge for at least 10 minutes to apply pressure and continue even after bleeding has stopped. If there is significant bleeding, see your physician to ensure there aren’t more serious underlying problems such as an abnormal clotting disorder that could be contributing to it.

If your bleeding won’t stop, consult either an emergency room or doctor’s office immediately. In some instances, they may use a camera that goes up into your nose to locate its source; or perform cautery which involves either burning a blood vessel shut with heat or chemical solutions in order to close off an active one.

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There are various steps you can take to prevent nosebleeds, including drinking plenty of water and limiting alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and spicy foods. Also use a humidifier in your home during winter when air is particularly dry; keep fingernails short so they won’t stick into your nose; and try not to blow your nose too frequently.


Nosebleeds don’t always constitute medical emergencies, but it is still essential that you know how to stop the bleeding quickly. First-aid steps should usually be straightforward and can often be completed at home. If bleeding persists despite first aid efforts or you experience high temperatures of 100F or higher or are experiencing bleeding that oozes from either nose or mouth, or fever of 100F or above should contact healthcare providers as soon as possible for evaluation and possible referral.

Squeezing the soft portion of your nose (between the end of each nostril and the hard, bony ridge that forms the bridge) with thumb and index finger can put pressure on blood vessels that supply your nose, helping stop any bleeding. Breathe through your mouth while pinching your nose; continue this squeezing technique for at least 10 minutes – don’t blow or pick at clots that form during this period.

Consider installing a cool mist humidifier into your home during winter to add moisture. Restrict your intake of over-the-counter allergy medicines and antihistamines that dry out nasal membranes; quit smoking; wear protective headgear when engaging in sports that could injure nose or face; keep fingernails short and not sharp to protect delicate tissues in nose; quit using over-the-counter allergy medicines that contain steroids to dry out nasal membranes; quit tobacco smoking (which irritates nasal lining); wear protective headgear when engaging in sports activities that could potentially harm to nose/face/nose/face; keep fingernails short as these can tear/break delicate tissues of nose/face/face/nose/face, etc.

Your healthcare provider will first conduct an examination of your nose and sinuses, ordering X-rays or CT scans as appropriate to identify the source of your nosebleed. In some cases, topical medications to numb or narrow blood vessels in your nose and sinuses may be recommended, while in more serious cases (i.e. bleeding disorders or abnormalities in blood vessel), other forms of treatment, including clot removal surgery may also be required to prevent further nosebleeds.

Though most nosebleeds aren’t serious, they can still be scary and inconvenient. Learning how to stop one will enable you to return quickly to normal activities without medical assistance; for those experiencing frequent nosebleeds, their healthcare provider may prescribe medications or recommend other treatment solutions designed to limit them.