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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

The best way to treat nosebleeds

Feb 24, 2022 01:57PM ● By Fred Cicetti

When treating a nosebleed, it’s important to resist the instinct to tilt your head back or lie down. You have to keep your head higher than your heart to cut down on bleeding. And, if you lean back, you can swallow blood, which can produce vomiting and diarrhea.

The best technique is to sit down and lean slightly forward so the blood will drain out of your nose. Then, using your thumb and index finger, squeeze the soft portion of your nose together until the bleeding stops. Don’t let go for at least 5 minutes. Repeat as necessary. Placing an ice pack across the bridge of your nose may also help. 

Nosebleeds usually start just inside the nose at the septum that separates the nostrils. The septum contains many fragile blood vessels that can become easily damaged. 

In older adults, a nosebleed may also begin deeper inside the nose where there are larger blood vessels. This type of nosebleed may be caused by hardened arteries or high blood pressure. They usually happen spontaneously and often require medical treatment. 

The most common cause is dryness, but they can also be caused by injuries, colds, allergies, oxygen use, an object lodged in your nostril (typical for grandkids), and nasal sprays. Running a humidifier inside your home can help. You might also consider lubricating the inside of your nostrils with petroleum jelly ointment, especially during the winter months.

Self-treatment can stop almost all nosebleeds. If bleeding persists for longer than 30 minutes, get immediate medical attention. Frequent nosebleeds can indicate serious illness. It could be an early sign of leukemia, blood clotting disorders and nasal tumors.

To prevent recurrence of a nosebleed, follow these tips:

• Avoid bending over or blowing your nose for several hours.

• Rest with your head elevated to 45 degrees.

• Don’t lift anything heavy.

• Don’t smoke.

• Avoid drinking hot liquids for at least 24 hours.

• Don’t take blood thinners, aspirin and ibuprofen. However, if you are on a prescribed blood-thinner such as Coumadin, consult your physician. 

Send your general health questions to
Healthy Geezer in care of the BEACON,
or email him at [email protected]

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