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Nose Bleeds


Bloody noses (epistaxis) are uncomfortable and scary-looking, but usually not dangerous.  Kids get nosebleeds 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 nosebleeds, it could be an indicator of a more severe medical problem.  Be sure to tell your doctor if you have gotten bloody noses, especially without physical trauma.

   Lean forward, not back.  Don't try to protect a favorite shirt by leaning back.  The blood needs to go somewhere and will most likely go down the throat.  If the victim leans back, blood could get in the windpipe causing a blocked airway, or go into the stomach.  Blood may irritate the stomach lining and cause the victim to vomit.

  Pinch the victim's nose just below the bony bridge.  Your fingers should be on the soft tissue as well as the bone.  If there is still blood flowing, adjust your grip.  There should not be visible bleeding while you are holding the nose.  Blood vessels that supply the nasal membrane can be pinched against the bony bridge (the hard part) to slow blood flow and create a clot.  Hold the nose for at least 5 minutes.  Do not let go to check bleeding until the 5 minutes is up.

  After 5 minutes, release the pressure to see if the bleeding has stopped.  If not, repeat Step 3 for 10 minutes this time.  Remember: don't let go to check bleeding until the 10 minutes is up.  Repeat for another 10 minutes if necessary.

  If a bloody nose doesn't stop after the second or third try, it's time to see a doctor.  If at any time, the victim feels lightheaded, dizzy, or weak, call an ambulance.  If left uncontrolled, bloody noses can lead to shock.

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