A WOMAN was so angry as she carried her four- year old son who fell down while disembarking from the school bus, with blood gushing out through his nostrils. She was startled, because she hasn’t seen such before.
Epistaxis is a common occurrence of bleeding from the nose. It is usually noticed when blood drains out through the nostrils.
60% of people have nose bleed at some point in their life. Also about 10% of nosebleeds are serious, affecting younger than 10 and older than 50 years.
The sudden trickle or gush of blood from the nose can be very surprising, especially if it isn’t caused by an injury. Most nosebleeds stem from dryness of the mucous membranes that line the inside of the nose, from irritation of the nose caused by a viral illness or from picking, blowing or roughly wiping the nose. Disease of the blood clotting system or use of aspirin or a blood thinning medicine can prolong and worsen a simple nosebleed from a cold or minor injury.
High blood pressure is a less common cause of recurrent nosebleeds. Blood pressure should be checked at least regularly.
Often, only one side of the nose is affected, and simple pressure stops the bleeding. Holding the nostrils together for five to 10 minutes is usually enough.
A blood count and clotting study may be needed if nosebleeds are severe and recur. These tests may be needed to evaluate the severity of the bleeding and to find out if a disease or another problem is causing the bleeding. For most nosebleeds, the treatment is as follows:-
*Lean forward and pinch both sides of the nose until the flow stops.
*Keep pinching for five to 10 minutes until a clot can form at the of nosebleed.
*Don’t swallow the blood because it can irritate the stomach, leading to nausea and vomiting.
*Applying ice to the bridge of the nose may reduce the blood flow, allowing it to clot, but this technique is less effective than pinching the nose.
*Using a cotton swab dampened with nasal decongestant to gentle rub a slowly bleeding or oozing area just inside the nose may also reduce or stop the blood flow.
See the doctor if the bleeding is severe and simple measures to stop it don’t work. Also see the doctor if the nosebleeds occur often. If one nose is gushing blood, seek immediate treatment at an emergency ward.
Treatment may include cauterization. Cauterization involves burning the bleeding area to seal the bleeding blood vessel. Sometimes, the source of bleeding is so far back in the nose that it can’t easily be seen, and the nostrils must be packed to stop the bleeding.
You may be able to help prevent nosebleeds caused by viral infections and dry mucous membranes by using a humidifier while sleeping and by using a saline nasal spray. Use the spray as often as needed to relieve dryness or about four times a day.
One can make the spray by oneself by mixing 1/8 teaspoon of salt with one cup of water, or one can buy the spray already mixed. A thin coat of petroleum jelly on the inside of the nose will also keep membranes from drying out.
Don’t try to remove dry mucous crusts from inside the nostrils by picking at them. This is a common cause of epistaxis (nosebleeds).