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Stop a Nosebleed

Nosebleeds are caused by broken blood vessels inside the nose and are especially common in children ages 2 to 10. Nosebleeds are a result of dry, crusty mucus membranes, trauma to the nose or certain disease processes. Nosebleeds usually stop on their own but will stop more quickly with your help.


1. Pinch your nose between your thumb and forefinger, and apply moderate pressure by squeezing against the nasal septum—the midsection of your nose—for 15 minutes.
2. Lean your head forward, not backward, so that the blood does not trickle down your throat. This will prevent a feeling of gagging.
3. Breathe through your mouth.
4. Apply a cold, soft compress around your nose as you continue to pinch it between your fingers.
5. Once bleeding has stopped, elevate your head above your heart when you are lying in bed or on the couch. This helps alleviate nasal pressure.
6. Turn on a cool vaporizer to moisten mucus membranes, which will help prevent the nosebleed from recurring.
7. Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the inside of the nostrils to moisten the passages and prevent the nosebleed from recurring. Use your fingertip.
8. Avoid blowing your nose for 24 hours, and when you do blow it again, blow gently.
9. Avoid lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activities after a nosebleed. This can produce momentary surges in blood pressure that could cause the nose to bleed again.


  • Nosebleeds are classified as anterior or posterior. Anterior (in the front) are the everyday common nosebleeds. Posterior (in the back) nosebleeds involve heavy bleeding from deep within the nose and are much more difficult to stop. Posterior nosebleeds occur most often in the elderly, due to hardening of the nasal arteries, hypertension, nasal tumors and anticoagulant medications.
  • Anterior nosebleeds occur most often in the fall and winter when upper respiratory infections are most common. Upper respiratory infections leave noses crusty and dried out.
  • Keep your child's fingernails trimmed if she likes to poke around in her nose. Long, ragged fingernails digging around in a nose can cause a nosebleed.
  • After a nosebleed, avoid lifting heavy objects or engaging in strenuous activities. This increases systemic venous pressures and could cause the nose to bleed again.


  • Never wedge cotton, tissues or gauze up into your nose to stop a nosebleed.
  • Seek medical care if your nose continues bleeding after 20 minutes, if the bleeding worsens rather than improves, or if you have specific medical conditions or concerns. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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