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Nosebleeds aren’t usually a serious health condition, but they can cause a bit of a panic – and mess! We’ll explain what causes nosebleeds, the link between having a cold and nose bleed, and how to cope when a nosebleed strikes.
What causes nosebleeds?
There are various reasons for an anterior nosebleed (coming from the front of the nose). This is when very small blood vessels in your nose break and bleed. Some of the most common reasons for this include:
- Blowing your nose too hard.
- Picking your nose.
- The inside of your nose being too dry, which can be down to air temperature.
Certain reasons for nose bleeding might require medical attention. This is typically when the nosebleed is coming from deeper inside the nose (posterior nosebleed), which can be down to:
- High blood pressure.
- A broken nose or injury.
- Blood-thinning medicines, like warfarin.
- Conditions that affect blood clotting or blood vessels.
Whatever is causing your nosebleed, use soft Cushelle Regular Tissues to stem the flow. They’re gentle on your skin while being strong enough to hold the blood. Keep a box of tissues at hand so it’ll be easy to grab one in any room.
The link between having a cold and nose bleed
You might get a nosebleed after a cold, or find that you experience nose bleeding during a cold. There are a few reasons for this.
Colds can irritate the lining of the nose, and powerful sneezes can rupture the blood vessels. You typically blow your nose a lot when you have a cold, too. The air is also drier during colder months – when colds are most common. Dry air dries out nasal membranes, which can cause itchy crusts that bleed when scratched. These factors can all add up to a nosebleed.
When you have frequent colds, the blood vessels inside the nose might become so irritated that they don’t heal. This can result in frequent nosebleeds. If you keep having a nosebleed after a cold, speak with your doctor about possible treatments.
How to cope with a nosebleed
Follow these steps to treat a nosebleed:
- Sit or stand upright.
- Pinch your nose just above your nostrils and below the bony centre.
- Lean forward.
- Breathe through your mouth.
- Apply pressure to your nose for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Hold a tissue under your nose to catch any blood that drips out.
- You can also place an icepack at the top of your nose (or improvise with a bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a tea towel).
What to avoid
During a nosebleed you should avoid:
- Lying down. The blood might fill your airways, making it difficult to breathe.
- Tilting your head back. The blood might trickle down the back of your throat into your stomach, which can cause vomiting.
- Stuffing your nose with tissue. This might cause a scab to form and attach to the tissue, which then ruptures when you pull out the tissue, causing more bleeding.
Once the bleeding has stopped, for the following 24 hours you should try to avoid:
- Blowing your nose.
- Doing any activities that cause you to strain.
- Lifting heavy objects or weights.
When to see a GP
Typically nosebleeds aren’t serious, and can be treated at home. But you should contact your doctor in any of the following instances:
- You have nosebleeds regularly.
- You’re taking blood-thinning medication, like warfarin.
- You have a condition that affects your blood’s ability to clot, like haemophilia.
- You have anaemia symptoms (shortness of breath, pale skin, and heart palpitations).
- A child under two years old has a nosebleed.
When to go to A&E
You’ll need to take urgent action and head to the hospital emergency department if:
- You’re finding it difficult to breathe.
- You’re feeling dizzy or weak.
- There’s an excessive amount of blood.
- You’ve had a blow to the head.
- You’ve vomited because you’ve swallowed a lot of blood.
- The nosebleed lasts longer than 10 to 15 minutes.
Now you know what causes nosebleeds and why you might experience nose bleeding during a cold, you have all the information to deal with a nosebleed the next time one occurs.