First aid for bleeding: Caring for nosebleeds

Nosebleeds can be a terrifying ordeal for many but not usually an indication of a serious condition and often managed at home. If an individual experience one, the blood flows from one or both nostrils. The bleeding might be light or heavy and lasts for a few seconds up to 10 minutes or longer.

Why does it occur?

The interior of the nose is filled with miniature, fragile blood vessels that can be damaged and bleed easily.

The usual causes of nosebleeds include:

  • Blowing the nose forcefully
  • Picking the nose

    In some instances, bleeding can originate from the deeper blood vessels inside the nose.

  • Minor injury or damage to the nose
  • Alterations in the temperature or humidity which causes the interior of the nose to dry up and become cracked

In some instances, bleeding can originate from the deeper blood vessels inside the nose. This might be brought about by a blow to the head, hardened arteries and undergoing a recent nasal surgery.

What should I do for nosebleeds?

  • Instruct the individual to sit down and firmly pinch the soft tissue of the nose which is right above the nostril for a minimum of 10-15 minutes
  • The individual should lean forward and inhale via the mouth. This allows the blood to drain down the nose instead of down the back part of the throat.
  • Apply an ice pack wrapped with a clean cloth or towel on the nasal bridge.
  • Make sure that the individual remains upright, instead of lying down since this lessens the blood pressure in the blood vessels of the nose and deters further bleeding.

Once the bleeding stops, there is no need for medical care. Nevertheless, there are cases where further care is required from a doctor or healthcare facility.


There are measures that can help prevent nosebleeds such as:

  • Avoid picking the nose and make sure that the fingernails are kept short
  • Limit blowing the nose and only do so in a gentle manner
  • Make sure that the house is humidified
  • Apply petroleum jelly regularly to the interior of the nostrils to keep the interior of the nose moist
  • Use an appropriate head gear when engaging in activities where the head or nose might be damaged
  • Carefully following the instructions when using nasal decongestants since overuse can trigger nosebleeds

A doctor must be consulted if the individual suffers from frequent episodes of nosebleeds and could not prevent them.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on nosebleeds is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly care for a bleeding nose, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.


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