What is the First Aid Treatment for a Bleeding Nose?

The majority of bleeding noses can be treated at home with simple first aid steps. Nosebleeds are common and rarely serious. However, it’s important to know the correct first aid treatment for dealing with a bleeding nose. 

Our noses are prone to bleeding due to the blood supply. One of the functions of the nose is to warm air before it enters the lungs. In order to warm the air, the blood vessels in the nose are close to the skin. This makes them vulnerable to being damaged, causing a nosebleed.

Recurrent nosebleeds can occur due to an underlying medical condition, or due to the side effect of medications. It’s important to seek medical attention for recurrent nosebleeds.

Let’s look at the correct first aid treatment for a nosebleed

First Aid Treatment for a Bleeding Nose

  1. Learn the person forwards (not backwards!)
  2. Ask them to pinch the soft part of the nose for a minimum of 10 minutes. Small children may not be able to keep pressure applied for 10 minutes, so you may need to do this for them
  3. If the nose continues to bleed for more than 10 – 20 minutes, keep pinching the nose whilst seeking medical attention
  4. If the nosebleed stops, ask the person not to pick or blow their nose. This may dislodge a clot that has formed. 

Rarely, a large nosebleed can cause shock due to blood loss. This may happen if someone is taking medication to thin their blood. If you suspect shock, call for emergency medical help immediately. 

Medical attention may be required for a nosebleed that does not stop. Doctors can cauterize the bleeding nose, or pack the nose with gauze in order to stop the bleeding. Do not attempt this at home! 

Why Should You Lean Forwards?

A common first aid myth is that you should lean back if you suffer a nosebleed. This is incorrect as the blood will run down the throat into the stomach causing sickness and vomiting.

Always lean forwards to allow the blood to drain away from the nose.

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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