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First Aid & Emergencies

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Stopping a Nosebleed - Topic Overview

Preventing nosebleeds

After you have stopped a nosebleed, the following tips may prevent a nosebleed from happening again:

  • Avoid forceful nose-blowing.
  • Do not pick your nose.
  • Avoid lifting or straining after a nosebleed.
  • Elevate your head on pillows while sleeping.
  • Put a thin layer of a saline- or water-based nasal gel, such as NasoGel, or an antiseptic nasal cream inside your nose.
  • Do not use aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen for 3 to 4 days. Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, may be used to relieve pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Talk to your doctor about stopping any medicines you are currently taking.
  • Do not use nonprescription antihistamines, decongestants, or medicated nasal sprays.

Nosebleeds may develop in people who have colds or chronic hay fever symptoms (postnasal drip, sneezing, or a runny, stuffy, or itchy nose) because nasal tissues become inflamed and irritated. Using medicines may relieve the symptoms, leading to less inflammation and irritation and fewer nosebleeds. But overuse of allergy medicines may lead to nosebleeds because of their overdrying side effects. If you have a lot of nosebleeds, talk to your doctor about the proper use of cold and allergy medicines.

If you are helping someone else stop a nosebleed, avoid touching the other person's blood. Use gloves, if available, or layers of fabric or a plastic bag to protect yourself.

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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