When Should I Call the Doctor About Nosebleeds?

Nosebleeds can happen for a lot of different reasons, but they usually aren’t serious and stop on their own. But there are times you should go to a doctor or get emergency care if you do have one.

When You Have a Nosebleed

You should get medical care immediately if:

  • You’re injured or go through something traumatic, like a car accident.
  • There’s more blood than you expect for a nosebleed.
  • It affects your ability to breathe.
  • The bleeding lasts longer than 20 minutes, even when you apply pressure.

If you’re losing a lot of blood and think you need emergency care, don’t drive to the hospital. Instead, have a friend or family take you, or call 911 or your local emergency number.

If you get nosebleeds a lot, you should talk to your doctor about them. Even if they’re not serious enough to require emergency care, it’s important for your doctor to know about them so she can figure out why they’re happening.

When Your Child Has a Nosebleed

In some cases, your child might need immediate emergency care for a nosebleed. Take him to an ER if:

  • He’s bleeding heavily and/or they feel dizzy or weak.
  • It happened because of a fall or an injury.
  • The bleeding won’t stop, even after two attempts to put pressure on his nose for 10 minutes at a time.

Regardless of your child’s age, you should take him to the doctor if:

  • He gets nosebleeds often.
  • The bleeding’s caused by something he inserted into his nose.
  • He bleeds heavily even when he has minor injuries.
  • He bleeds from other areas of his body, like his gums.
  • He develops bruises from minor injuries.
  • The nosebleed(s) happened shortly after he started a new medication.

Who Might Get Serious Nosebleeds

Occasional nosebleeds are usually nothing to worry about, but if you take some medications or have certain health conditions, your nosebleed may be more serious and you should get emergency medical help.

Blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) or aspirin can cause you to bleed more than you normally would. If you’re on one of these medications and you get a nosebleed, you may not be able to stop the bleeding on your own. In some cases, a doctor will need to put packing in your nose to stop the bleeding.

It’s rare, but a bleeding disorder can cause nosebleeds. If you have one, your blood may not clot properly. If your nosebleeds are hard to stop and/or you get bleeding from your gums or from minor cuts, you should see a doctor immediately or get emergency care.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on January 12, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Nosebleeds: When to see a doctor.”

KidsHealth.org: “Nosebleeds.”

Seattle Children’s Hospital: “Should Your Child See a Doctor? -- Nosebleed.”

University of Utah Health Care / The Scope: “ER or Not: Nosebleed.”

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