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Bloody Nose First Aid

Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Bloody Nose


Updated January 25, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Bloody noses (epistaxis) are uncomfortable and scary-looking, but usually not dangerous.

1. Bloody Nose Causes

Kids get bloody noses more often than adults, typically either from irritating the nasal membrane (picking their noses) or from trauma (like a soccer ball in the face). When adults get bloody noses especially without warning (called spontaneous epistaxis), it could be an indicator of a more severe medical problem. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have gotten bloody noses, particularly without physical trauma.

Bloody noses are more common for adults and kids in cooler weather, when we spend more time indoors. The dry, heated, indoor air causes the mucous membrane of the nose to get brittle and crack.

2. Bloody Nose Symptoms

Most of us have had a bloody nose at some time in our lives. It simply means bleeding from the inside of the nose, the mucous membrane (where snot comes from). Typically, the bleeding doesn't have any pain, unless the bloody nose was caused by trauma -- getting hit in the nose.

3. Bloody Nose Treatment

Always have the victim of a bloody nose lean forward, not back. When leaning back, folks have a tendency to swallow the blood that drains down the backs of their throats. Blood will irritate the lining of the stomach and may cause nausea or vomiting. Pinch just at the bottom of the bridge of the nose (hard part). Ideally, you want the bleeding to stop but the victim should still be able to bleed through his or her nose. Hold the nose for at least 5 minutes.

4. Bloody Nose Treatment Video

stop a bloody nose
(c) About.com

Let the pros show you how. This video demonstrates the steps for stopping a bloody nose.

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