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How to treat a nosebleed

I'm Dr. Alan Greene and let's talk for a moment about nosebleeds and what to do about them. First, many parents panic a bit when they see a nosebleed in their child. Worried it may be something serious like leukemia. But in an otherwise healthy child without any other symptoms, nosebleeds are very common and generally not serious at all. It's usually caused by a little nick or drying out of blood vessels right in the surface of the nose. So what do you do about it? Do you tilt your head back? Do you apply ice to the nose? Actually you treat it just like you would any other bleeding by applying direct pressure. And in the case of the nose the way you do it is pinch the nose shut like this, the sides against the middle, and hold it like that by the clock for 2 minutes. When you let go, often it will stop. If it's still bleeding, do that again but hold it for 5 minutes. Again, by the clock. It's a long time, the 5 minutes. But when you are done, almost all the time the nosebleed will be over with. If it's not, go ahead and give your doctor a call. They can give you some other instructions on what to do from there.

How to treat a nosebleed

Review Date: 5/20/2019

Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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