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When you get a nosebleed (epistaxis), the blood vessels in the nose break, causing blood to come out of one or both nostrils. There are many possible causes of nosebleeds.

Once a nosebleed has been stopped, it may take a week for the blood vessels in the nose to heal completely. Follow these important steps to prevent and treat a nosebleed.


Preventing another bloody nose

  • Avoid blowing your nose for at least two days. Once two days have passed, blow very gently.

  • Avoid rubbing or picking your nose.

  • Keep your mouth open if you sneeze. This way, the force of sneeze goes through your mouth, not your nose.

  • Sleep with your head elevated on at least two pillows

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects, bending over or straining when having a bowel movement.

  • Avoid medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen. Common examples include Advil® and Motrin®. Read labels to make sure the combination doesn’t contain aspirin. Use Tylenol® for pain.


If a nosebleed starts again

  • If bleeding starts again, place cotton soaked in Afrin® (oxymetazaline) in the nostril that is bleeding. Afrin is a nasal decongestant that helps constrict blood vessels. If you don’t have Afrin, squeeze the nostrils tightly for 10 minutes.

  • If this doesn’t help, squeeze the nostrils for at least five more minutes. Sit up and lean forward while squeezing your nostrils. You may want to have a basin below you nose and mouth for the blood to drip into. This will keep you from swallowing the blood. You can also measure how much blood you actually lose.

  • If the bleeding continues, notify your doctor or visit the nearest emergency room. The number at National Jewish Health is 303.388.1355. Choose option 4.