Anyone can have a bleeding nose but some people are more sensitive to this condition, in particular children aged between 2 and 10 and adults aged between 50 and 80 years old. During these ages blood vessels can fracture more easily especially during the winter as the air is drier. The majority of the time, a nose bleed is not very serious however it is better to know in what situations it is necessary to call a doctor.
Bleeding nose: What are the causes?
There are two types of nose bleeds:
- Anterior bleed: This happens when the blood vessels at the front of the nose have been ruptured and is easy to treat.
- Posterior bleed: This happens when the blood vessels the farthest back in the nasal cavity have ruptured. These vessels are thick so this type of bleeding nose is more difficult to stop.
For both types of nose bleeds, the most common cause is air that is too dry. This dry air can encourage cracks in the membrane of the nasal cavity. Nose bleeds can also be caused by irritations to the inside of the nose for example if you extensively use special products like nasal sprays, or allergy or virus sprays. However, other medicines or drugs like cocaine can also irritate the mucus in the nose.
More rarely, nose bleeds can be caused by a genetic illness, a problem with blood coagulation or due to a cancer.
How do you stop a nose bleed?
The first this to do is not to panic. This can just worsen the situation. So that you avoid blood trickling into the throat you should slightly tilt your head forward. By using your thumb and index finger you should pinch the front part of the nose and apply pressure for 5 minutes. If the bleeding continues you should repeat this gesture for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Do not insert anything into the inside of your nose like tissues or cotton wool in case you irritate the blood vessels even more.
How can you prevent bleeding noses?
In winter when the air is drier you can use a salted nasal spray 2 to 5 times per week. If you have a humid flat or house you should perhaps invest in a dehumidifier. If you smoke it is recommended that you stop smoking as the smoke can irritate the nasal pathways.
When should you contact a doctor?
If the nose bleed lasts more than 30 minutes then you should contact the emergency services so that they can diagnose the cause of the posterior blood vessels’ rupture. In this cause medical intervention is necessary.