How to Stop Chronic Nosebleeds

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Chronic nosebleeds go beyond an annoyance.
Chronic nosebleeds go beyond an annoyance. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Nosebleeds have various causes, and the cause affects the best way to stop chronic recurrence. Some people have blood vessels too close to the surface in the nose. This is common in children, and the blood vessels usually become deeper over time. Nasal dryness, irritation, chronic sinusitis, colds, influenza, allergies, excessive nose picking, injury, high elevation, drug abuse, hypertension and blood thinners are among other causes that contribute to chronic nosebleeds. Several effective preventive measures exist.

Stop the Bleeding

Before you worry about preventing subsequent nosebleeds, you might need to stop the gushing at hand. Remain calm, and if you're tending to a bleeding child, keep her calm, too. Use a wad of tissues or a clean, damp cloth to catch the flow of blood. Sit or stand so the head is above heart level to limit blood flow to the nose. Lean forward slightly to prevent blood from running run down your throat. Apply pressure by pinching the nostrils together and maintain it for 10 minutes. Refrain from repeatedly releasing pressure and removing the cloth to see whether the bleeding stopped. Such an action inhibits clotting.

Keep the Nose Moist Inside

Interior nasal dryness is a leading cause of chronic nosebleeds. Run a few humidifiers around the house when atmospheric humidity is low. Sleep with one on in your bedroom. Deeply breathing steam helps as well taking a hot shower or standing over a boiling pot of water. Heating systems can be drying, so use yours as little as possible, keeping the thermostat set in the low to mid-60s. Apply a small dab of petroleum jelly just inside your nose, or use a saline rinse or spray to hydrate.

Prevent Nasal Irritation

Chronic nosebleeds can be a direct result of ongoing irritation. If your child picks her nose, intervention is necessary. Consistently insist she stop. Use discipline and preventives such as gloves as necessary. If applicable, discontinue use of cocaine, speed or other intranasal drugs. Seek treatment for a drug problem. Refrain from blowing your nose too much. Treat symptoms of a long-running cold or flu, or take medications to help manage your seasonal allergies.

Discontinue or Change Blood Thinner Use

Blood thinner use can contribute to chronic nose bleeds. If you take blood thinners or anti-clotting agents, talk to your doctor about changing your dose or particular therapy. Keep in mind that a lot of over-the-counter products and supplements, such as aspirin, vitamin E, ginger, garlic and ginseng, function as blood thinners. Blood thinners often cannot be stopped at once, and require gradual tapering off. If you've been prescribed a blood thinner, or if you've regularly been taking on on your own, consult your doctor before making any changes to your regimen.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add humidity to the air to prevent drying and eventual bleeding in the nose.
  • Control your blood pressure, hypertension can make a person more prone to nosebleeds.
  • Watch your aspirin intake as aspirin can cause clotting problems.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you are taking Warfarin, Coumadin or Heparin. These medications are anticoagulants.
  • Limit your salicylate intake after a bleed. Coffee, tea, almonds, apples, apricots, all berries, mint cloves, cherries, currants, grapes, raisins, oil of wintergreen, bell peppers, peaches, plums, tangelos, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles all have aspirin like qualities.

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