What Causes Nosebleeds and How to Manage Them

Almost everyone has had a bloody nose at some point in their life. Whether it was caused by an injury, allergies, or dry weather conditions, nosebleeds can be inconvenient and scary. 

Most nosebleeds aren’t a cause for major concern and stop on their own with the right at-home treatment. However, some may require medical care—especially those that won’t stop on their own. 

With the weather getting cold and the air getting dry, winter is a peak time for bloody noses. Let’s take a look at what causes nosebleeds, how to treat them at home, and when you should seek care for one. 

What Causes Nosebleeds? 

As mentioned, a bloody nose can be caused by a variety of factors. Most nosebleeds occur when the tiny, fragile blood vessels inside the nose break or leak. This is common in children and is known as an anterior nosebleed. 

Dryness is the most common cause of nosebleeds. However, not all dryness is the same. Dry air frequently causes bloody noses because it causes the membranes in your nose to dry out more quickly than the body can moisten them. When this occurs, your nose becomes itchy, making you more likely to pick or scratch it. This can rupture the fine blood vessels. 

During the winter, spending more time indoors (along with decreased outdoor humidity) makes it easier for your nose to dry out. 

Other causes of dryness include antihistamines and decongestant medications. These also dry out the nasal membranes, leaving you more prone to nosebleeds. For those who are sick, increased nose blowing can irritate the nasal passages and rupture blood vessels. 

In some cases, nosebleeds are caused by underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure, clotting disorders, and bleeding disorders. That being said, dryness and trauma are certainly the most common reasons for a bloody nose. 

How to Treat a Bloody Nose at Home

Fortunately, most anterior nosebleeds are easy to stop at home. It’s important to act quickly to stop the flow of blood and prevent complications like becoming lightheaded or fainting. 

To stop a nosebleed, pinch your thumb and index finger together to close your nose for about 10 minutes. Use firm but gentle pressure. As you do so, tilt your head forward and breathe through your mouth. Tipping your head forward helps prevent blood from running back into your throat and mouth. Be sure to stay seated in a chair and avoid laying down. 

When to Seek Urgent Care for a Bloody Nose

As mentioned, some nosebleeds are more severe than others. If it doesn’t stop after following the steps above for 20 minutes, you may have a posterior nosebleed. This rarely occurs on its own, but can be the result of a blow to the face, such as while playing sports or from a fall. 

Posterior nosebleeds are more difficult to stop and may require medical treatment. If your nosebleed lasts longer than 20 minutes, you should seek care as soon as possible. Walking into an urgent care center is a great choice since you can receive quick, effective care without needing to schedule an appointment or visit an emergency room. 

How to Prevent Nosebleeds

While stopping a nosebleed isn’t usually difficult, it can be a major inconvenience. If it happens in a public place, it can also be embarrassing. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to prevent nosebleeds from occurring in the first place. 

The most important one is to keep the inside of your nose moist. You can accomplish this by using a humidifier, saline nasal spray, or a thin layer of Vaseline. When your nose is moist, it is far less likely to bleed spontaneously. 

You should also avoid picking your nose. Of course, you should already be doing that for hygienic reasons. Fingernails can easily damage the sensitive membranes inside your nose and cause a nosebleed. 

Velocity Urgent Care Has Your Back

If you find yourself with a nosebleed that won’t stop with home remedies, Velocity Urgent Care has your back. Our network of clinics across Virginia ensures that help is always within reach. When you arrive, our friendly, board-certified providers will examine your nose to determine the cause of the bleeding. 

From there, we’ll develop the ideal treatment plan for your situation to put a stop to your bloody nose and get you back to your day. 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or testing.

Don’t put your health at risk by waiting to seek out treatment!

Velocity Urgent Care offers convenient online registration that helps you limit your contact with others during a visit. You can sign up for an appointment online ahead of time and arrive when it’s time to be seen to skip the waiting room. We even offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.

Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.

To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.