Within the United States, one of every seven people will develop a nosebleed at some point in their lives. Nosebleeds are commonly caused by ruptures of the small blood vessels inside of your nose, and can sometimes be fairly frequent. We see them in patients of every age, but are most common in children and older adults.
Particularly in the cold winter months, many individuals notice an increase in frequency of nosebleeds. Let’s take a look at why this might be the case.
Why Nosebleeds Are More Common in Winter
For those who deal with frequent nosebleeds, they’re more common in winter than in summer largely because the air is colder and drier. This problem is compounded by indoor heating, which further dries out the air inside your home.
Why Nosebleeds Occur
That drier air means that the lining of your nose dries out, making the many blood vessels that are close to the surface more prone to leaking or bursting.
Factors that increase the risk for nosebleeds in winter include upper-respiratory infections, trauma, allergic rhinitis, high blood pressure, hormonal changes during pregnancy, alcohol abuse, use of blood thinning medications, and living at high altitude.
Self-Care for Nosebleeds
Most nosebleeds are minor and will stop on their own or with self-care measures. To stop a nosebleed:
- Sit upright and lean slightly forward.
- Firmly pinch the soft part of your nose between your thumb and index finger and hold for at least 10 minutes.
- Repeat as necessary until the bleeding has stopped.
- Spray Decongestant nasal spray as well, if available, to aid in more rapid cessation of bleeding.
Tips to Prevent Nosebleeds During Winter
Once the bleeding has stopped, follow these tips to prevent future nosebleeds:
- Avoid blowing, sneezing, or picking your nose. If you need to sneeze, keep your mouth open to lower the pressure in your nose.
- Avoid bending over and refrain from partaking in strenuous activities, such as vigorous exercise or heavy lifting. This will only increase the pressure in your head, making a nosebleed more likely.
- Apply petroleum jelly or saline gel to the inside of your nostrils to help keep the lining of your nose moist.
- Avoid straining during bowel movements.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to dry indoor air. We recommend a humidifier in the bedroom, as that is often where you are for extended periods of time when the indoor heat is blowing the most.
When to See a Physician for Your Nosebleeds
Most nosebleeds aren't dangerous and can be stopped without the need for medical intervention, but occasionally, treatment from an ENT specialist is required.
If the bleeding is severe or doesn't stop after 30 minutes, or you experience nosebleeds more than once a week despite taking preventive measures, please contact us for assistance.