Epistaxis (nosebleed)

What is epistaxis?

Epistaxis is a nosebleed originating from the nostrils. It is rarely life-threatening and is classified according to its location, whether it is anterior or posterior. An anterior nosebleed is common and does it not require urgent attention. A posterior nosebleed is rare and will need immediate medical care.

What causes a nosebleed?

It can be caused by trauma, irritation or dryness of the lining of the nose, allergic rhinitis, colds or sinusitis. Other causes include nasal obstruction such as a deviated septum or foreign objects in the nose. In most cases, it stems from the septum, which is the vertical cartilage that separates the nasal chambers and is covered by fragile blood vessels, which may break.

How is it treated?

A nosebleed usually stops by itself but any case requires medical help if:

  • It persists after 15 or 20 minutes
  • The nosebleeds are frequent
  • The blood drains into the throat
  • Head or neck injury is suspected.

How can I stop a nosebleed?

The best way to stop the bleeding is to sit leaning forward pinching the nose above the nostrils with the fingers and breathing through the mouth. 

How can I prevent a nosebleed?

In order to prevent a nosebleed, you can:

  • Stop nose-picking as a bad habit
  • Blow your nose gently
  • Do not smoke
  • Use a saline nasal spray to keep the inside of the nostrils moisturised
  • Avoid facial trauma by wearing a seatbelt when driving and wearing headgear when playing contact sports. 
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