Stopping a Nosebleed - Topic Overview
Most nosebleeds occur in the front of the nose and involve only
one nostril. Some blood may drain down the back of the nose into the throat.
These nosebleeds typically are not serious, and you can generally treat them
yourself at home.
A less common but more serious type of nosebleed
starts in the back of the nose and often involves both nostrils. Large amounts
of blood may run down the back of the throat. This type of nosebleed may occur
more frequently in older adults because of health conditions they may have. You
will need treatment from a doctor to control bleeding from this type of
Stopping a nosebleed
Follow these steps to stop a
- Sit up straight and tip your head slightly
- Note: Do not
tilt your head back. This may cause blood to run down the back of your throat,
and you may swallow it. Swallowed blood can irritate your stomach and cause
vomiting. And vomiting may make the bleeding worse or cause it to start again.
Spit out any blood that gathers in your mouth and throat rather than swallowing
- Use your thumb and
forefinger to firmly pinch the soft part of your nose shut. The nose consists of a hard, bony part and a softer
part made of cartilage. Nosebleeds usually occur in the soft part of the nose.
Spraying the nose with a medicated nasal spray (such as Afrin) before applying
pressure may help stop a nosebleed. You will have to
breathe through your mouth.
- Apply an ice pack to your nose
and cheeks. Cold will constrict the blood vessels and help stop the
- Keep pinching for a full 10 minutes. Use a clock to time
the 10 minutes. It can seem like a long time. Resist the urge to peek after a
few minutes to see if your nose has stopped bleeding.
- Check to see
if your nose is still bleeding after 10 minutes. If it is, hold it for 10 more
minutes. Most nosebleeds will stop after 10 to 20 minutes of direct
- Put a light coating of a moisturizing ointment (such as
Vaseline) or an antiseptic nasal cream inside your nose. Do not blow your nose
or put anything else inside your nose for at least 12 hours after the bleeding
- Rest quietly for a few hours.