Tips And Myths On How To Stop A Nosebleed

By Tiffany Tseng. May 7th 2016

Though they are quite common and considered harmless, nosebleeds can be quite the nuisance. The sudden gushing of unexpected blood from the nostrils may be a grisly sight to the squeamish, and can make a mess by getting all over the place. Here are some easy tips and instructions on how to stop a nosebleed fast wherever you are.

Tips On How To Stop A Nosebleed

These steps may help relieve infrequent, spontaneous nasal bleeding and can be used anywhere.

  1. Keep calm. While the duration of the nosebleed may seem scary, it is very important to try and stay calm. Panicking or heightened anxiety levels will raise your blood pressure, causing your body to pump blood faster and making it harder to stop the nosebleed. Instead, try to calm down and focus.
  2. Squeeze the end of your nose. Be sure to squeeze the flared portion of your nostril gently together.
  3. Breathe through your mouth. During this time, be sure to keep on breathing! Taking large, deep breaths through the mouth can further help you keep calm.
  4. Do not swallow the blood. If needed, spit out any obstructions or blood that flows to the mouth. For some people, swallowing the blood can cause a gag reflex, which is the last thing you would want to have in addition to a nosebleed.
  5. Add a cold compress if needed. Some people may find it soothing to add a cold towel or compress to the bridge of the nose. The coldness may also help slow blood flow and help stop bleeding. If it feels uncomfortable, however, remove the cold compress.
  6. Sit upright for 5 to 20 minutes. For the regular, average nosebleed, the bleeding should cease between 5 to 20 minutes of squeezing the nose shut. If the bleeding does not cease or stop in 30 minutes, it may be time to seek emergency care.                                                 

At The Doctor’s Office

Fortunately, nasal bleeding is rarely life threatening, and if it does not stop bleeding at home, your physician can help stop the bleeding. Otherwise, he or she may determine if the nosebleed is a signifier of another medical condition, which will also be treated. Here are some forms of treatment the doctor may employ:

  • Scans and pictures: A nasal endoscopy may be performed, and it is an examination of the nasal passage using a small camera. Not only can it help the doctor locate the site of bleeding, it can also help determine the seriousness of the bleeding. CT scans or nasal scans may also be performed to determine abnormalities that may be causing the bleeding
  • Blood tests: The doctor may run some tests to determine blood count, infection, or any abnormalities of the blood.
  • Medication: The doctor may give you medication to constrict the blood vessels in the nasal area to help stop bleeding. Antibiotics may also be given to prevent infection. Blood pressure medication may also be given to try and help cease bleeding. The medication can be in ointment, pill, or spray form.
  • Surgery: Very rarely do doctors perform small surgeries to stop nasal bleeding. These procedures usually involve putting a clip or a stitch on the bleeding blood vessel to terminate bleeding for good. Sometimes, surgery will be used to remove foreign objects that may have caused the bleeding in the first place.


Here are some tips that can aid in the prevention of future nosebleeds:

  • Keep a cool, humid environment
  • Keep your nasal passage moist
  • If needed, humidifiers and nasal sprays and lubricants can be of help
  • Keep a strong immune system
  • Take care of your nasal lining and your nose during allergy season
  • Avoid hard rubbing, blowing or picking of the nose

It is important to note that if the nosebleed is a result of physical trauma to the head or facial portion, be sure to seek medical care to rule out a broken nose or other physical conditions that cause nosebleeds. If the frequency of mild nosebleeds increases, be sure to also seek medical care as well to eliminate other medical problems that have nasal bleeding as a symptom.


  • Stuff the insides of your nostrils with gauze or cotton during a nosebleed – FALSE. While it may seem like the logical thing to do, packing things into a bleeding nose may actually stretch the bleeding site and worsen the situation.
  • It is best to lie down during a nosebleed – FALSE. Sitting down will be sufficient to slow down the blood flow. Pooling of blood in the nasal cavity can occur when lying down, and can cause severe discomfort. If the person suffering from the nosebleed is feeling dizzy or unable to balance, it is important to seek medical care immediately, for it may be a sign of too much loss of blood.
  • Blow your nose to clear the blood – FALSE. It is best to not sniff or blow the nose several hours after stopping the nosebleed to resist aggravating the healed site of bleeding and potentially reopen the rupture site. Try breathing through the mouth if the nasal passage is clogged, and if you must, very gently pass air through the nose to clear any blood mucus.


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