Nosebleeds often come on suddenly and can be frightening even if you've experienced them in the past. Nosebleeds often stop on their own, however, in some cases, the bleeding can be severe and prolonged. Understanding some basic facts about nosebleeds will help you know which nosebleeds can be treated at home and which ones should send you to urgent care.
What causes nosebleeds?
Nose membranes that are dry tend to become sensitive and may bleed easily. Dryness can be caused by heat in the winter, which causes crusty formations in the nose. Blowing or picking the nose to remove these formations can cause small breaks in the membranes and lead to bleeding.
Other common causes include injury to the nose, colds, and allergies. Excessive use of aspirin or having high blood pressure may make you more susceptible to nosebleeds. The use of blood thinners to control other health conditions can cause extreme nose bleeding.
What should I do if I get a nosebleed?
Remain calm, sit upright in a chair, and lean forward. Pinch both nostrils shut and apply pressure to the nose. Continue to pinch the nose for about 10 to 15 minutes.
This will often lessen or stop the bleeding. However, if bleeding continues, you may try the maneuver for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Once you get the bleeding under control, avoid blowing or picking the nose.
When should I seek treatment at urgent care?
If you have suffered an injury to your nose, you should seek treatment at urgent care to rule out damage to the nose. Also, any nosebleed that appears profuse should not be treated at home. If you are taking blood thinners, you will need to seek treatment at urgent care immediately.
Children under the age of two should always be seen for nosebleeds. If your nosebleed lasts more than 30 minutes and does not subside with the pinching maneuver, you may need a physician to apply packing to the inside of the nose. Have someone drive you to urgent care if you are experiencing a bad nosebleed instead of taking yourself.
Fortunately, most nosebleeds are more of a nuisance than anything. However, if you are uncertain about the severity of a nosebleed that you or a family member is experiencing, going to urgent care for an evaluation is a wise decision. Your urgent care staff will determine if further treatment is necessary and provide reassurance to ease your mind.