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Causes

Besides from an injury, nosebleeds can be caused by low humidity in your home or office, colds and allergies, low levels of vitamin K, chronic sinusitis, medications (especially aspirin and blood thinners), high altitudes, excessive heat and blowing or picking the nose, and is a possible symptom of hypertension.

In younger people, especially, nosebleeds occur when blood vessels at the front of the septum - the cartilage that divides the nose - which are thin and fragile, rupture.

Prevention

  • If you are prone to nosebleeds, check the humidity in your house, and increase it to the normal range. Keep the heat low (60-64 degrees) in your bedroom.
  • Keep nostrils moist. Take a shower and breathe deeply to get moisture into your nose. Then put petroleum jelly on the inside of the nose to keep it moist. A saline solution spray will also help.
  • Limit blood thinners. Aspirin, vitamin E, Coumadin, heparin, garlic, ginger and ginseng are blood thinners. If you must use blood thinners, inform your doctor about the nosebleeds.
  • Daily consumption of citrus fruit can help eliminate recurring nosebleeds. The bioflavonoids (a class of antioxidants) found in the fruit, seem to help with the prevention. Bioflavonoids help strengthen the blood vessels which makes them less likely to rupture. Take 500 mg of bioflavonoids twice a day if you do not eat several servings of fruit daily.
  • Avoid foods that may give you a severe allergic reaction, such as milk and wheat.
  • Putting a few drops of castor oil, vitamin E or zinc oxide in your nose each day will prevent recurring nosebleeds.

Tips

  • First words of wisdom: "Don't lie down!" Always keep your head elevated and above your heart. Breathe through your mouth.
  • Sit up straight and tip your head slightly forward. Tilting the head back may cause the blood to run down the throat.
  • Stay quiet for a few hours after the bleeding has stopped as exertion may cause the bleeding to start again.
  • Before you try to stop the nosebleed, blow your nose hard. This will remove any clots which are keeping the blood vessel open. After getting the clot out the elastic fibers surrounding the vessel will contract around the tiny opening.
  • Don't blow your nose for at least twelve hours after the bleeding has stopped.
  • Use an ice pack on the nose. Cold causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow, swelling and inflammation.
  • An ice pack or cold compress on the back of the neck is another remedy. Pressure on the back of the neck restricts flow of blood to the head.
  • Press your finger between your lip and gum, pressing upward against the nose. Variations of this remedy are to place a rolled up piece of a brown paper bag, paper towel or gauze, a dime, or a tree leaf in the same position. There is a blood vessel that runs under the upper lip, and these techniques cut down the blood flow and allow the blood to clot.
  • Using almost the same technique as above, press the outside of the upper lip just below the nose with your thumb and forefinger and hold for several minutes. This is a vital acupressure point in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • For some, pinching the bridge of the nose helps close off the blood vessels. Using a cold compress or ice helps, as the blood vessels constrict faster. This should stop the bleeding in 3-5 minutes.
  • After your nosebleed has stopped, use a cotton swab to apply an antibiotic ointment to the inside of your nose. This will kill bacteria and keep your nose moist. Reapply several times, especially before bedtime, for several days.
  • Call Your Doctor When...

    Caution!

    If you have blood flowing from both nostrils.

    If the bleeding hasn't stopped after 30 minutes of pressure.

    If blood runs down the back of your throat even when the nose is pinched.

    If the nose is deformed from an injury.

    If nosebleeds recur several times during the day, or for several days in succession. This could be a symptom of a serious underlying ailment.

    Remedies

    Folk

    Alum Herbalists suggest using wild alum root powder. This will stop the bleeding immediately. Wild alum root is a powerful astringent.

    Apple cider vinegar is useful in getting a nosebleed to stop. Apple cider vinegar safeguards the body from loss of blood. Soak a small cotton ball in the vinegar and pack it lightly into the nostril. The vinegar will help the blood to congeal.

    • Pour some vinegar on a cloth and wash the neck, nose and temples with it.
    • Mix 2 teaspoonsful in half a glass of warm water and drink it. A variation of this is to take a teaspoonful (two for adults) in a glass of water three times a day, with or without meals. This latter remedy is especially good for both children and adults who get frequent nosebleeds where no injury is present.

    Cayenne Put 1/8-1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a glass of warm (hot preferred) water and drink it. This works because the cayenne travels through the entire circulatory system and regulates the pressure thereby taking pressure off the hemorrhaging area and aiding quick coagulation. Cayenne pepper is noted for its ability to stop both internal and external bleeding very quickly. Although it may sting, you can also put some cayenne inside the nose.

    Goldenseal Another herbal remedy is to make a tea from goldenseal using one teaspoon to a pint of boiling water. Steep a few minutes, let settle, and, when cold, snuff some into your nostrils. Do this several times during the day to prevent recurrence.

    Lemon water Mix the juice of three lemons into two cups of cold water and sponge on the sunburn. The lemon will cool the burn, act as a disinfectant, and will promote healing of the skin.

    Saline solution Spray a cold saline solution into the nose.

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