First Aid for Nosebleeds: What to Do

Nosebleeds are very common and are usually not very serious - but in today's blog we will talk about what to do.

What are the best first aid practices for nosebleeds?

Short Answer: There are many first aid practices done for nosebleeds, one would be to loosen tight clothing around their neck

  • Apply your finger and thumb on the soft part of the nostrils below the bridge of the nose for at least 10 minutes
  • Make sure the person does not cry as this will increase blood flow 
  • Ask the person to breathe through their mouth while their nostrils are pinched 
  • If bleeding does not stop, seek medical attention

Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, occur when blood vessels in the nose rupture and bleed. They can range from a minor inconvenience to a more significant medical issue.

Let’s look at possible causes of nosebleeds:

Nasal Infections

A common cold or a sinus infection can cause inflammation and irritation of the nasal passages, increasing the risk of nosebleeds.

Trauma Injury

Any trauma or injury to the nose, such as getting hit in the face, or inserting objects in the nose can cause a nosebleed.

Dry Air

Dry areas, low humidity, or heated indoor environments can dry out the nasal passages, leading to nasal irritations and nosebleeds.

High blood pressure

Uncontrolled blood pressure can sometimes contribute to nosebleeds, although is a less common cause than others.

Blood clotting disorders

Conditions that affect blood clotting, such as hemophilia can lead to recurrent or prolonged nosebleeds.

Symptoms, on the other hand - include:

  • Nasal congestion or stuffiness
  • Irritation and swelling of the nasal passages during a nosebleed may cause temporary nasal congestion.

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting (rare)
  • In severe cases where significant blood loss occurs or if the bleeding is difficult to control, there is a chance that these types of symptoms could happen.

  • Blood clot expulsion
  • After a nosebleed, the person may blow out small clots or dried blood from the nose.

  • Dripping sensation at the back of throat
  • Blood from a nosebleed can sometimes flow down at the back of the throat, causing a taste of blood or sensation of blood dripping.

Note that if you or someone experiences frequent, recurrent or prolonged nosebleeds, or if there are other concerning symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.

How to Administer First Aid for Mild and Severe Nosebleeds

Administering first aid for nosebleeds can help control bleeding and prevent complications. Let’s take a look at what you can do for mild nosebleeds:

Stay calm and reassure the person

Nosebleeds can be distressing, so it’s important to remain calm and help the person stay calm as well, with words of encouragement that everything will be okay.

Have the person sit down

Sitting upright helps reduce blood pressure in the nose, which will definitely help to control the bleeding.

Lean slightly forward

Tilting the head slightly forward helps prevent blood flowing down the throat, reducing the risk of swallowing blood. Swallowing blood can be very dangerous.

Pinch the nostrils

Instruct the person to pinch their nostrils together with their thumb and forefinger, just below the bony part of the nose. Maintain pressure for about 10 to 15 minutes minutes before releasing to allow the blood to clot.

Breathe through the mouth

Breathing through the mouth helps to reduce the pressure on the nasal blood vessels and will also help to prevent further irritation that could occur.

Apply a cold compress

Placing a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a cloth on the bridge of the nose can help to restrict blood vessels and reduce bleeding.

Avoid blowing the nose

Blowing the nose immediately after a nosebleed can disrupt the clot formation and restart the bleeding. The person should not blow their nose for a few hours after the bleeding stops.

For nosebleeds that are more severe, these are the steps you will need to follow:

  • Call Emergency medical assistance
  • If the nosebleed is severe and does not stop after applying initial first aid measures, seeking medical help is the next thing to do.

  • Maintain pressure
  • Apply continuous pressure to the nostrils as described above.

  • Keep the person calm and still
  • Anxiety or movement can increase blood flow, so it’s crucial to help the person stay calm and avoid any unnecessary activity.

  • Do not tilt head back
  • Contrary to popular belief, tilting the head back can cause blood to flow down the throat, which can lead to choking or vomiting.

  • Seek medical attention
  • Severe nosebleeds may require medical intervention, such as cauterization (applying heat or chemicals to seal the blood vessels) or nasal packing (placing gauze or an inflatable balloon in the nose to apply pressure)

Note that if a nosebleed lasts for more than 20 minutes, it is accompanied by significant blood loss, or is a result of a severe head injury, it is important to seek medical attention or call emergency services.

Tips for Preventing and Managing Nosebleeds

Preventing and managing nosebleeds involves taking certain measures to keep the nasal passages moisturized and avoiding irritations that can trigger bleeding.

Let’s dive into these tips:

Be gentle with your nose

Avoid inserting objects into your nose or picking it too harshly, as these actions can cause trauma and increase the risk of nosebleeds happening.

Stay hydrated

Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to maintain hydration, which will help prevent nasal dryness.

Healthy blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure, work with your healthcare provider to manage it effectively.

Controlling your blood pressure can help reduce the risk of nosebleeds associated with hypertension.

Use saline sprays

Regularly using saline nasal sprays or rinses can help keep the nasal passages moist and prevent dryness and irritation.

Be careful with medication

If you’re using nasal sprays or medications, follow the instructions provided by your healthcare professional or pharmacist.

Overuse or incorrect use of certain nasal medication can lead to nosebleeds.

If you still experience frequent nosebleeds even after taking these preventive measures, consult a healthcare professional.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Nosebleeds

While nosebleeds can be taken care of at home, there are situations where it is advisable to seek medical attention for them.

Here are some circumstances in which you should consider contacting a medical professional:

Difficulty breathing or swallowing

If the nosebleed is accompanied by difficulty in breathing or swallowing, it is crucial to seek medical attention, as there may be other underlying issues that need attending to.

Prolonged bleeding

In the event that the nosebleed lasts for more than 20 minutes, even after administering first aid such as pinching the nostrils, it is recommended to get medical intervention.

Associated symptoms

Experiencing additional concerning symptoms alongside the nosebleed, such as dizziness, signs of infection, and lightheadedness is not something to ignore. A proper evaluation and diagnosis will be needed.

Significant blood loss

Heavy bleeding from the nose will result in a large amount of blood loss, and this will definitely lead to other complications that could get worse if not addressed.

It’s always better to be cautious when dealing with nosebleeds. If you are unsure or concerned about the severity or frequency of nosebleeds, consult a medical professional for appropriate assessment or guidance.

Instant cold compresses are ideal for nosebleeds, you can find out more information in our article here.

Related Questions

What can nosebleeds be a sign of?

Nosebleeds can be a sign of various underlying conditions or factors. While most nosebleeds can be harmless and occur due to benign reasons, it is still better to be on the cautious side of things and get a second opinion, as prevention is better than the cure.

When do you worry about a nosebleed?

Nosebleeds are rarely an emergency, but when it does not stop within 30 minutes is when you will have to worry and call emergency services. It will be very heavy and show no signs of stopping - leading to significant blood loss for the person.


In today’s blog, we spoke about nosebleeds, tips for preventing them and when to call for medical attention. We hope you find this information helpful.


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