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When the Nose Bleeds

It happens. When you suddenly see blood dripping from your classmate’s nostrils in the middle of class, or when contact sports lead to vigorous trauma to the nose. Nosebleeding, medically termed as “epistaxis”, is very common – and almost always causes worry and anxiety both to the patient and the people seeing it.

The most common cause of such bleeding especially in children, is trauma to the nose with simultaneous fragility of the capillaries and blood vessels within the nostrils. It may be from forceful sneezing, voluntary or involuntary manipulation of the nostrils, or constant irritation or debris from a bout of sniffles or colds. However, when bleeding happens without no apparent cause and if it does not improve or cease within 10-15 minutes, a visit to the emergency room is warranted. Clotting medications and laboratory tests may be done to investigate the cause of said persistent bleeding.

What to do? The patient should be instructed to firmly pinch their nostril just below the nasal bone (the tip of the hard part along the nasal bridge), look down, and maintain this position for the next 10 to 15 minutes or until bleeding stops. Ice packs do not help. It is also important to note that it is very common for blood to trickle down one’s, throat especially when the head is not bent forward. Advise your child, your student, or your friend, to not ingest the blood and have it spat out.

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