Bleeding that begins inside the nostrils is referred to as nosebleed. Its medical name is epistaxis. i
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What Are Nosebleeds?
Most nosebleeds occur in children and older people and last for a short time. In rare cases, nosebleeds can be associated with other illnesses.
What Causes Nosebleeds?
Nosebleeds usually start after a bump to the nose or when the lining of the nostrils becomes irritated, crusted, or dry. This often happens when someone has a cold, infection, or allergy that affects the amount of mucus secreted from the nose. A high fever can also dry out the lining of the nose and cause nosebleeds. When the crusts are removed, bleeding may occur.
What Is the Treatment for Nosebleeds?
Most nosebleeds can be stopped in a short time by holding the nostrils closed firmly for a few minutes between the thumb and forefinger. A person with a nosebleed should sit down and lean slightly forward and breath through the mouth while holding the nostrils shut. After 10 to 15 minutes, the bleeding should have stopped. The person should avoid blowing the nose for 12 hours after a nosebleed, because this could start the bleeding again. If the nosebleed does not stop after a few attempts at pinching the nostrils for 10 to 15 minutes each time, then a doctor should be contacted. The doctor might put cotton gauze with medication into the nostril to stop the bleeding. Nose drops may also be prescribed for a few days in some cases to help control further bleeding.
Prolonged nose bleeding may be a sign of serious injury to the head or an indication of an illness, like high blood pressure (hypertension) or sinus blockage.
Serious diseases that may rarely be the cause of nosebleeds include leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells), liver disease, atherosclerosis (also called hardening of the arteries), and some hereditary bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, where the blood fails to clot properly.
Can Nosebleeds Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent nosebleeds is to avoid bumping or picking the nose. People involved in contact sports, like football or boxing, are more likely to receive bumps to the head or nose that result in nosebleeds. Appropriate protective gear, such as face guards and masks, should be worn to help prevent these injuries. Humidifying the air indoors in the winter, when the air is very dry because of central heating, will also help.