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First Aid & Emergencies

Nosebleeds

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Next Steps for Nosebleeds

  • Most people can be seen and discharged from a doctor’s office or the hospital's emergency department after treatment for a nosebleed. If nasal packing has been placed, do not try to remove the packing yourself. You need to be seen again, usually within one to three days, at which time the packing will be removed.
  • Try to avoid any further irritation of the nose. Do not blow your nose. Try not to sneeze or cough, if possible. Avoid any strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting or exercise.
  • If possible, try not to take any drugs that may interfere with normal blood clotting. These medications include aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn). If you take these drugs for a chronic medical condition, consult with your doctor about to what to do. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken for fever or pain.

Nosebleed Prevention

  • Most nosebleeds occur during the winter in cold, dry climates. If you are prone to nosebleeds, use a humidifier in your home. Use petroleum jelly (Vaseline), an over-the-counter nasal lubricant spray, or a saline nasal spray to keep your nasal passages moist.
  • Avoid picking your nose or blowing your nose too vigorously.
  • If the nosebleed is related to another medical condition, such as liver disease, nasal allergies, or a chronic sinus condition, follow your doctor’s instructions to keep that problem under control.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking contributes to nasal dryness and irritation.

Outlook for Nosebleeds

With proper treatment, people recover from nosebleeds with no long-term effects.

If another undiagnosed disease is causing the bleeding, the prognosis depends on discovering and treating that disease.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on July 27, 2014
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