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First Aid & Emergencies

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When to Seek Medical Care for a Nosebleed

Call a doctor about nosebleeds:

  • If you have repeated episodes of nosebleeds
  • If you have additional bleeding from places other than the nose, such as in the urine or stool
  • If you bruise easily
  • If you are on any blood-thinning drugs, including aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin)
  • If you have any underlying disease that may affect blood clotting, such as liver disease, kidney disease, or hemophilia (inability of blood to clot)
  • If you recently had chemotherapy

Go to the hospital for nosebleeds if:

  • You are still bleeding after pinching the nose for 10 minutes.
  • You are having repeated episodes of nosebleeds over a short time.
  • You feel dizzy or light-headed or like you are going to pass out.
  • You have a rapid heartbeat or trouble breathing.
  • You are coughing up or vomiting blood.
  • You have a rash or temperature greater than than 101.4°F (38.5°C).
  • Your doctor instructs you to go to a hospital's emergency department.

Nosebleed Exams and Tests

  • To examine the nose, the doctor places medications into the nostrils, usually with a cotton ball, that numb the inside of the nose as well as constrict the blood vessels in that area. This will also reduce swelling and allow the doctor to see inside the nose better
  • The diagnosis of a posterior nosebleed is usually made when attempts to control the bleeding when the measures used for an anterior nosebleed have failed. Seeing the source of a posterior nosebleed is nearly impossible.
  • Lab tests may be done to evaluate blood loss or the effects of blood thinning drugs.

First Aid A-Z

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