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There’s nothing more unsettling than your nose suddenly starting to bleed. However, they often look way worse than they are. We’ve assembled some facts about why we get nosebleeds, who is most at risk for them, what you can do to stop one and what to do in the rare instance when you can’t make the bleeding stop.


Nosebleeds are also known as epistaxis. Put simply, they happen when the blood vessels in your nose bleed. They are a common occurrence because of how many blood vessels are in your nose. Unless you are losing a large volume of blood, nosebleeds can be taken care of by yourself with simple first-aid.1

MedExpress Pro Tip: If you suffer from frequent colds, you may have a sinus infection. Your neighborhood MedExpress can quickly diagnose and treat you for this issue. Here’s more information on sinus infections.

How to Stop a Nosebleed

Most nosebleeds can be handled without the need to visit a medical provider. Here are the basic steps to stopping most nosebleeds:1

  • Sit and keep your head higher than your heart. Don’t lay flat or lower your head.
  • Remain calm, as the faster your heart beats, the more blood will flow.
  • Lean forward and tilt your head forward. If you lean backward, blood will run into your throat.
  • Spit out any blood in your mouth or throat. 
  • Gently blow out any clots in your nose. This may slightly increase the blood flow, but it is part of the process. 
  • Pinch the soft parts of your nose between your thumb and index finger.
  • Compress the pinched parts of your nose against the bones of your face while breathing through your mouth.
  • Hold your nose like this for five minutes. 
  • You may need to repeat this process. Breathe through your mouth as you do this.
  • Ice can help with swelling and bleeding after this. 

If the bleeding doesn’t stop or improve in 30 minutes, you should seek medical attention.

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What Are the Causes of a Nosebleed?

Bleeding from the nose is most often caused by nose picking and the nasal membranes becoming dry. This results in the blood vessels breaking and starting to bleed. Nosebleeds happen more often during the winter, as upper respiratory infections are more frequent and nose dryness is increased when you go from cold weather outside to warm and dry temperatures inside.

Additionally, nosebleeds can be caused by facial trauma. The following risk factors can also cause them:1

  • Alcohol abuse 
  • Allergic and non-allergic rhinitis (upper respiratory infection) 
  • An existing infection 
  • Blood-thinning medications 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy 
  • Inherited bleeding problems 
  • Live in areas with bad air quality 
  • Tumors 

Preventing a Nosebleed

The two simplest ways to prevent nosebleeds are by not picking your nose and ensuring that your nasal passages are properly lubricated with a saline mist nasal spray and/or an ointment such as Neosporin or petroleum jelly.1

You can also aid your nasal passages by running a humidifier in your home and ensuring that you are properly hydrated. Wondering if you’re dealing with hydration issues? Here are six signs to find out if you are.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While most nosebleeds resolve on their own, if you have any of the following issues, seek immediate medical attention at the emergency room:1

  • Bleeding keeps happening or can’t be stopped 
  • Rapid bleeding or large blood loss 
  • Fainting 
  • Weakness 
  • Any trauma to the face, blurry vision or loss of consciousness 
  • Migraine or fever 

If your nose is bleeding more than four times a week, you should seek medical attention. Chronic nosebleeds may be caused by:1

  • Frequently picking or blowing your nose 
  • Living in a low-humidity environment 
  • Chronic allergies 
  • Taking medications such as blood thinners, aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines, Vitamin E, Ginko biloba, decongestants or nasal sprays 
  • Health issues that impact normal blood clotting 
  • A structural problem within the nose, such as a deviated septum 
  • Abnormal blood vessels within the nose 
  • A tumor or polyp in the nose or sinuses 
  • Abuse of snorted drugs like cocaine 

If you don’t have any of the following major symptoms, you can always turn to MedExpress for nosebleed treatment. A provider may stop the bleeding with a heated instrument or chemical swab. They may also use a topical medicine that promotes the clotting of blood in your nasal passages or place nasal packs to compress the blood vessels and stop the bleeding.

Additionally, you may want to follow up with your primary care physician (PCP) to get a blood test to see if you have a bleeding disorder.

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get treatment for your nosebleed

Trouble with a nosebleed? Schedule a visit online or walk in from 8 to 8 every day.


For your convenience, we accept most major insurance. To verify that your insurance is in-network, visit the Plan Your Visit page. We also offer a discount to those patients who choose to pay in full for their visit at the time of service. Self-pay services are $199.

If you have questions about your nosebleeds or want to proactively discuss your nasal health with one of our providers, we’re always here to help.


  1. MedicineNet. Nosebleed (Epistaxis). Last updated January 30, 2024. Accessed April 11, 2024.
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