Nosebleeds: Care Instructions

Skip to the navigation

Your Care Instructions

How to pinch the nose to stop a nosebleed

Nosebleeds are common, especially if you have colds or allergies. Many things can cause a nosebleed.

Some nosebleeds stop on their own with pressure. Others need packing. Some get cauterized (sealed). If you have gauze or other packing materials in your nose, you will need to follow up with your doctor to have the packing removed. You may need more treatment if you get nosebleeds a lot.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If you get another nosebleed:
    • Sit up and tilt your head slightly forward. This keeps blood from going down your throat.
    • Use your thumb and index finger to pinch your nose shut for 10 minutes. Use a clock. Do not check to see if the bleeding has stopped before the 10 minutes are up. If the bleeding has not stopped, pinch your nose shut for another 10 minutes.
    • When the bleeding has stopped, try not to pick, rub, or blow your nose for 12 hours. Avoiding these things helps keep your nose from bleeding again.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

To prevent nosebleeds

  • Do not blow your nose too hard.
  • Try not to lift or strain after a nosebleed.
  • Raise your head on a pillow while you sleep.
  • Put a thin layer of a saline- or water-based nasal gel, such as NasoGel, inside your nose. Put it on the septum, which divides your nostrils. This will prevent dryness that can cause nosebleeds.
  • Use a vaporizer or humidifier to add moisture to your bedroom. Follow the directions for cleaning the machine.
  • Do not use aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) for 36 to 48 hours after a nosebleed unless your doctor tells you to. You can use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain relief.
  • Talk to your doctor about stopping any other medicines you are taking. Some medicines may make you more likely to get a nosebleed.
  • Do not use cold medicines or nasal sprays without first talking to your doctor. They can make your nose dry.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You get another nosebleed and your nose is still bleeding after you have applied pressure 3 times for 10 minutes each time (30 minutes total).
  • There is a lot of blood running down the back of your throat even after you pinch your nose and tilt your head forward.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have sinus pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You get nosebleeds often, even if they stop.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

Enter S156 in the search box to learn more about "Nosebleeds: Care Instructions."

Current as of: May 27, 2016