Nosebleeds are a common occurrence, so common that in the United States, one of every seven people will develop a nosebleed at some point in their lives. They’re commonly caused by ruptures of the small blood vessels inside of your nose, and can be fairly frequent. We see them in patients of every age, but are most common in children and older adults.
While some nosebleeds are due to trauma to the nose, frequent nosebleeds can be caused by a variety of issues, such as allergies, the flu, an ingrown hair, or more serious conditions like high blood pressure and sinusitis. For those who do experience more frequent nosebleeds, they tend to be 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 and your nose.
Treating Your Nosebleed
The instructions for stopping any nosebleed are the same, no matter the cause. Apply direct pressure to your nose by squeezing. Tilt your head forward, not backwards while squeezing, and hold for 15 minutes. After that time has elapsed, put a tissue or cotton material in your nose firmly and leave there for 15 minutes.
Rarely is a heavy nosebleed life threatening, especially if it’s a single occurrence that is attributed to a minor trauma. If your nosebleed ever continues for more than 30 minutes, you should seek emergency medical care.
Preventing Winter Nosebleeds
While we endure these colder months when nosebleeds are more common, here’s what you can do to prevent one:
- 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.
- 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.
- Continue to stay hydrated through the winter months, aiming for 6 to 8 glasses of water each day.
- Avoid straining during bowel movements.
We hope that a nosebleed will not warrant a doctor’s appointment. However, if you are concerned about the frequency or duration of your winter nosebleeds, contact us today to request an appointment.