How to use cold to stop nose bleeds
Posted by Tia Patel | MAR-02-2021
Are you prone to nosebleeds?
Whilst the sight of blood can be scary to most, nose bleeds ( in most cases) aren’t a sign of anything serious and can be treated at home. Here’s how….
What is a nose bleed?
A nosebleed can come from either the front of your nose (anterior) or the back of it (posterior).
- Anterior nosebleeds occur from the septum. This is the wall that separates your nostrils. It contains a lot of blood vessels that can break from a hit to the face or even a scratch of your fingernail. Most nosebleeds start in the lower part of the septum, meaning close to your nostril opening.
- Posterior nosebleeds are rare. They start deeper in the back of your nose and are more likely to happen in older people, those with high blood pressure, or those who have had a face injury.
It’s difficult to know if you have a posterior or anterior nosebleed. But posterior nosebleeds can be much more serious and you’re more likely to need emergency help.
Causes of nosebleeds
- Dry climates or dry, heated air that dries out the inside of your nose
- Picking your nose or rubbing it too hard
- An upper respiratory infection like a cold
- Repeated nose-blowing
- An injury to your nose or a foreign object in your nose
- A deviated septum
- Allergies or allergy medicines that can dry out your nose, like antihistamines and decongestants
- Certain blood thinners
- Taking aspirin regularly
- Nasal sprays
- A sinus infection
- Chemicals that irritate your airways, like ammonia
- Alcohol use
How to stop a nosebleed with a cold pack
- Sit up and lean forward so blood can enter the front of the nose.
- Apply gentle pressure by squeezing the nostrils together for at least five minutes until clotting occurs.
- Use a small ice pack or cold cloth on the bridge of your nose to further slow blood by constricting blood vessels. Using a cold pack on the back of your neck isn’t effective for anterior bleeds.
NOTE: If bleeding persists for longer than 20 minutes seek medical help.
What causes nosebleeds in children?
Dr Diane Heatley, an ear, nose and throat specialist for children, says nosebleeds most frequently happen in the autumn and winter when indoor heating systems can dry out the air as well as a child's nostrils. This often makes the nose crusty and itchy with children seeking relief by rubbing or picking the nose.
Tips for preventing nosebleeds
As nosebleeds result from dryness, the inside of the nose should be kept moist to avoid irritation.
- Apply petroleum jelly with a cotton swab to the nose before going to sleep.
- Wear socks over your hands at bedtime to prevent nose picking whilst sleeping.
- Over-the-counter saline salt water sprays will push moisture further up the nose and reduce irritation.