Nose Bleeds

First-Aid for Nosebleeds

If you are having a nosebleed you should:

  • sit down and firmly pinch the soft part of your nasal cavity, just above your nostrils, for 10 minutes
  • Lean forward and breathe through your mouth. Leaning forward drains the blood down your nose instead of down the back of your throat,
  • stay upright, rather than lying down, as this reduces the blood pressure in the veins of your nose and will discourage further bleeding,
  • maintain the pressure on your nose for up to 20 minutes (time this on the clock) so that the blood clots,
  • place a covered ice pack on your cheek or nose to help soothe the area
  • Suck an ice-cube against the roof of your mouth
  • avoid blowing your nose, bending down and strenuous activity for at least 12 hours after a nosebleed. Try to keep your head above the level of your heart for this time.
  • avoid picking your nose, particularly if you scratch the inside of your nose with a sharp fingernail

See your GP, or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47, if the bleeding is very heavy or if it does not stop after maintaining pressure for 20 minutes.

Also seek help if:

  • you often have more than one nosebleed a week (it may be due to an undiagnosed underlying condition),
  • you have had an injury to your head, such as a blow, or a fall (you may have broken your nose), or
  • you are taking an anticoagulant (a blood-thinning medicine), such as warfarin, and the bleeding does not stop, or re-occurs

Alasdair Mace 2007