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A nosebleed (also known as epistaxis) is bleeding from the nose due to burst blood vessels at the front or back of the nostrils.
The bleeding is usually mild and easily treated. If the bleeding is more severe, it is usually in older people or in people with other medical problems.
We don’t always find a reason for why your nosebleed occurred on this occasion.
The common site for a nosebleed to start is in Little’s area. This is just inside the entrance of the nostril, on the nasal septum (the middle harder part of the nostril). Here the blood vessels are quite fragile and can rupture easily for no apparent reason. This happens most commonly in children. This delicate area is also more likely to bleed with the following:
In the above situations, the bleeding tends to last only a short time and is usually easy to control.
Bleeding sometimes comes from other areas further back in the nose. It is sometimes due to uncommon disorders of the nose, or to serious injuries to the nose. The bleeding may be more prolonged and harder to stop if you have high blood pressure, heart failure, a blood clotting disorder, or are taking blood thinning drugs (anticoagulants) such as warfarin or aspirin.
To avoid another nose bleed please follow the advice given below for at least three days
If you have had nasal cautery, Vaseline or a prescribed nasal cream should be applied at least four times a day for one week.
If there is slight bleeding, sit upright and apply an ice pack. Firmly squeeze the soft lower half of the nose between the thumb and first finger for at least 10 minutes, without releasing. Spit out any blood as swallowing this may make you feel sick. A cold compress on the top of the nose or sucking ice may help you.
If you are worried, please seek medical advice promptly.
If your nose is still bleeding after 20 minutes, go to your nearest Emergency Department as soon as possible.
For general medical advice please use the NHS website, the NHS 111 service, walk-in-centres, or your GP.
This article is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.
The information in this article is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.
Publication Date: February 2019
Review Date: December 2021