The vast majority of nosebleeds do not require a doctor’s care. Of the hundreds of patients with nosebleeds that I’ve seen over the years, about 90% could have been treated effectively at home.
The most common reason patients present to the doctor for nosebleeds is that they have not applied pressure to the nose effectively.
Some people tilt their heads backwards – don’t. This makes it seem like the bleeding has stopped, but all it does is make the blood drain down your throat, which can cause nausea or even vomiting.
Others put ice on the back of their necks – don’t bother. This does nothing to stop the bleeding. Applying ice to the nose might help a little, but certainly not as much as direct pressure.
Some do apply pressure – but only for a minute. That’s commonly not enough. Others try to compress the bony part of the nose . . . which certainly won’t work.
Save a trip to the ER or to your doctor by applying pressure effectively.
Squeeze the nose together (use your thumb and index finger to compress the soft parts of the nose against each other – like a clothespin). DO NOT RELEASE THE PRESSURE FOR 10 MINUTES. I repeat – do not release the pressure for 10 minutes. This is the maneuver that will save you money on a trip to the doctor. Most patients insist on peeking, checking to see if the bleeding has stopped. Avoid temptation! And time it!
If your nose is still bleeding, repeat another 10 minutes. If it’s still bleeding after 20 minutes, seek medical attention.
For additional information, visit the following websites:
Potential annual savings on ER visits for nosebleeds: 5,000 community hospitals x 50 unnecessary visits/year x $100 = $25,000,000 (surely an underestimate)
© Cynthia J Koelker, MD – All Rights reserved