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First Aid & Emergencies

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Nosebleeds - Prevention

The following tips may reduce your risk for developing nosebleeds.

  • Use saltwater (saline) nose drops or a spray.
  • Avoid forceful nose-blowing.
  • Do not pick your nose or put your finger in your nose to remove crusts.
  • Avoid lifting or straining after a nosebleed.
  • Elevate your head on one or two pillows while sleeping.
  • Apply a thin layer of a saline- or water-based nasal gel, such as NasoGel, to the inside of your nose.
  • Limit your use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, may be used to relieve pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Use prescription blood thinners, such as warfarin (such as Coumadin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), and clopidogrel (Plavix) as instructed by your doctor.
  • Do not use nonprescription antihistamines, decongestants, or medicated nasal sprays. These medicines can help control cold and allergy symptoms, but overuse may dry the inside of the nose (mucous membranes) and cause nosebleeds.
  • Keep your blood pressure under control if you have a history of high blood pressure. This will help decrease the risk of nosebleeds.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking slows healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
  • Do not use illegal drugs, such as cocaine or amphetamines.

Make changes in your home

  • Humidify your home, especially the bedrooms. Low humidity is a common cause of nosebleeds.
  • Keep the heat low [60°F (16°C) to 64°F (18°C)] in sleeping areas. Cooler air does not dry out the nasal passages.
  • Breathe moist air, such as from a shower, for a while if your nose becomes very dry. Then put a thin layer of a saline- or water-based nasal gel, such as NasoGel, inside your nostrils to help prevent bleeding. But do not put anything inside your nose if your nose is bleeding. Occasional use of saline nasal sprays may also help keep nasal tissue moist.

Prevent nosebleeds in children

  • Keep your child's fingernails trimmed, and discourage nose-picking.
  • Caution children not to put any object in their noses.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 07, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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