man suffering from a nosebleed

How to stop nosebleeds

24 May 2023


Messy, inconvenient and even sometimes a little scary, nosebleeds can be fairly common occurrences. They’re usually nothing to worry about and are particularly prominent in kids.

Nevertheless, having blood gushing out of your nose can be a nuisance – especially if you’re not at home to clean it up. Thankfully, there are a few easy tricks you can follow to help slow down and stop a nosebleed.

Before we take a look at ways to halt a nosebleed in its track, let’s first delve into the reasons why they can happen in the first place…

So, what causes nosebleeds?

The inside of our noses are lined with hundreds of small blood vessels. These are delicate and can be damaged easily, causing them to bleed out. In general, the most common causes of nosebleeds are:1
  1. Dryness caused by a change in air temperature or moisture
  2. Picking or scratching the inside of the nose
  3. A runny nose or cold which causes the inside of the nose to be sore and inflamed

If you’ve been injured or broken your nose, you may also experience some bleeding. Certain people are naturally more prone to nosebleeds, too; this include kids under the age of 11, pregnant women and the elderly.

In rare cases, nosebleeds may be a sign of a more serious health condition such as anemia or high blood pressure. You may want to make an appointment with your GP if you have them frequently.

How to stop nosebleeds

If you’re suddenly struck by a nosebleed, don’t panic! There are some simple steps you can follow to stop the flow of blood. These include:2
  • Sitting upright and leaning forward

You may have been told to do the complete opposite when your nose starts bleeding. However, there’s no use allowing the blood to drain back up into your nostrils. Instead, lean forward and allow it to drip out into a tissue.

  • Leaving your nose free from tissues or cotton wool

It might seem sensible to pack your nose with tissue to absorb the blood, but this could actually irritate the blood vessels even more. Use tissue or a flannel to soak up the blood as it comes out of your nostrils instead.

  • Pinching your nose just above the nostrils

To halt the flow of blood, try pinching the soft skin just above the nostrils for around 10 minutes.

  • Placing something cold on the top of your nose

To make the blood vessels in your nose tighten and stop releasing blood, you can try applying an ice pack or a bag of frozen veggies to the top of your nose. Only do this for a maximum of 10 minutes or the cold temperature could damage your skin.

Five ways to help prevent nosebleeds

Here's a few things to try:3
  1. Don’t pick at your nose, especially if you have long nails which might easily scratch the skin
  2. Avoid blowing your nose too much if you have a cold
  3. Keep the inside of your nose moist with a nasal spray or some Vaseline
  4. Install a humidifier in your home to keep the air moist
  5. Avoid drinking alcohol if you’ve recently had a nosebleed as it can interfere with your blood’s ability to clot4

Last updated: 23 June 2020


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