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The Best Way to Stop a Severe Bloody Nose

author image Doug Hewitt
Doug Hewitt has been writing for over 20 years and has a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He authored the book "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting," which includes health and fitness hints for parents. He and his wife, Robin, are coauthors of the "Free College Resource Book."
The Best Way to Stop a Severe Bloody Nose
Nosebleeds often originate in the septum, which separates the nasal cavities. Photo Credit: Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

Nosebleeds are common. They typically start in the septum, which is just inside the nose and separates the nasal chambers. For middle-aged and older adults, nosebleeds may start deeper inside the nose. Even though a nosebleed may appear severe, most nosebleeds can be stopped with a few simple techniques. If the bleeding cannot be stopped after 15 or 20 minutes, seek medical attention. You should always seek medical attention if the nosebleed is a result of an accident, a fall or injury, including a punch to the face.

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Reduce Blood Pressure

Sit down in an upright position in order to reduce the pressure in the veins inside your nose. Reducing the pressure in your veins reduces the force with which blood is pushed out of the affected area. Lean slightly forward in order to reduce the opportunity to swallow blood, which can be unsettling to your stomach.

Apply Pressure

Applying pressure to your nosebleed helps stem the bleeding in the same manner as applying pressure to any bleeding wound helps stem the bleeding. Reach up to your nose and pinch it between your index finger and thumb. You’ll be forced to breathe through your mouth because your nasal passages are pinched in the process. The Mayo Clinic suggests keeping your nose pinched for five to 10 minutes, which is often long enough to stop the bleeding. The pinching applies pressure to the septum, which is typically the source of the bleeding, and the pressure is usually sufficient to stop the nosebleed. If the nose continues bleeding after releasing the pressure, pinch the nose again for another 5 to ten minutes.

Frequent Nosebleeds

If you’re experiencing frequent nosebleeds, the Mayo Clinic suggests making an appointment with your family doctor. Your nosebleeds may be the result of a blood vessel that needs to be cauterized. Your doctor may choose to pack your nose with a special gauze, which will stop the bleeding. Your doctor may instead choose to pack your nose with a latex balloon, which, like the special gauze, applies pressure to the nose from the inside and acts to stop the bleeding.

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