John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Nosebleed facts
- What causes nosebleeds?
- How do you stop the common nosebleed?
- How do you prevent the nose from bleeding again?
- What precautions can you take to prevent nose bleeding?
- When should you call your doctor or go to an emergency room?
- What should I do if the doctor has placed nasal packs?
How do you stop the common nosebleed?
Most people who develop nose bleeding can handle the problem without the need of a physician if they follow the first aid recommendations below:
- Pinch all the soft parts of the nose together between the thumb and index finger.
- Press firmly toward the face - compressing the pinched parts of the nose against the bones of the face.
- Lean forward slightly with the head tilted forward. Leaning back or tilting the head back allows the blood to run back into the sinuses and throat and can cause gagging or inhaling the blood.
- Hold the nose for at least five minutes. Repeat as necessary until the nose has stopped bleeding.
- Sit quietly, keeping the head higher than the level of the heart. Do not lay flat or put your head between your legs.
- Apply ice (wrapped in a towel) to nose and cheeks.
How do you prevent the nose from bleeding again?
- Go home and rest with head elevated at 30 to 45 degrees.
- Do not blow your nose or put anything into it. If you have to sneeze, open your mouth so that the air will escape out the mouth and not through the nose.
- Do not strain during bowel movements. Use a stool softener (for example, docusate [Colace]).
- Do not strain or bend down to lift anything heavy.
- Try to keep your head higher than the level of your heart.
- Do not smoke.
- Stay on a soft, cool diet. No hot liquids for at least 24 hours.
- Do not take any medications that will thin the blood for example, aspirin, ibuprofen, clopidogrel bisulfate (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin). Do not stop taking any medications without first contacting your doctor.
- Your doctor may recommend some form of lubricating ointment for the inside of the nose (see below).
- If re-bleeding occurs, try to clear the nose of clots by sniffing in forcefully. A temporary remedy such as a nasal decongestant spray, for example, Afrin or Neo-Synephrine may be helpful. These types of sprays constrict blood vessels. (NOTE: If used for many days at a time, these can cause addiction so they are recommended for short-term usage. Moreover, do not use if the patient has high blood pressure.)
- Repeat the steps above on how to stop the common nosebleed. If bleeding persists, call the doctor and/or go to the nearest emergency department.
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