Written by Monali Bordoloi and published on 04 June 2021.
Do you know that the central heating system in your office could make your nose bleed? Nosebleeds are scary but mostly harmless. Anyone could have it, from a 3-year-old to a 70-year-old
Kirthi Joshi was just a few weeks pregnant when she first noticed a nosebleed. Terrified that something bad happened to her and her yet-to-be-born child, Kirthi rushed to her gynecologist. She was convinced only after the doctor explained to her that nosebleeds are common during the first trimester of pregnancy and that her unborn child was safe.
8-year-old Kaushik Mahapatra was suffering from a severe cold for about a week. One day, when he was reading a book, suddenly his nose started to bleed. Kaushik panicked and ran to his mother and showed her his bloodied nose. His mother realized that it could be because of his cold. She immediately made him sit straight and thankfully his bleeding stopped.
Nosebleeds, in general, do not require medical intervention. However, seek medical attention if your nosebleed lasts longer than 20 minutes or it occurs after some injury to the head or nose. Heavy bleeding could be a sign of more serious conditions.
According to Dr Sowmya CC, consultant pediatrician, Apollo Cradle, Bangalore, "In medical terms, nose bleeding is called epistasis. It happens in children frequently post upper respiratory tract infection. The blood vessels inside the nose are very fragile, when these break, we have nosebleeds. Even if a bloodied nose looks scary, in most cases, there is nothing to worry about nose bleeding. However, in case of frequent and continuous bleeding, immediate medical attention is required."
Causes of nosebleeds could range from pregnancy to nose-picking to dry air! Dr Sowmya says, "Commonly children suffer from nose bleeding because they pick their noses. If they prick the little area where blood vessels meet, it causes bleeding. Other causes could be any growth or polyp inside nose, nasal bone fracture, injury from a foreign body in the nose or a bleeding disorder, hypertension and even pregnancy."
The membranes inside our noses dry out in when the air is dry. This dryness causes crusting inside the nose. When we scratch or pick those, it can bleed. Blowing your nose frequently can also cause a nosebleed.
If you are taking medicine for cold and allergies like antihistamines and decongestants, it could cause nosebleeds.
Blood-thinning and pain-killer medications; anticoagulants like aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can all cause nosebleeds. In fact, any medication that changes the blood's ability to clot can cause a nosebleed.
Small children often have nosebleeds due to injury to their noses. Injuries that might cause a nosebleed include a fall, a car accident, or a punch in the face. Nosebleeds that occur after a major trauma may indicate a broken nose, skull fracture, or internal bleeding in serious cases.
Pregnancy could trigger a nosebleed, even in the first trimester, as increased blood supply puts pressure on the blood vessels in the nose and it expands and ruptures causing a nosebleed. It is a common complaint during pregnancy, however, it's not a cause for concern. As Kirthi found out her baby was safe too in case of mild nosebleed.
If there is no serious medical condition, you can treat the nosebleed at home. Dr Sowmya says, "If your child is having a nosebleed, first make him sit comfortably and support his neck. Then squeeze the soft part of the nose for 5-10 minutes and slowly apply an ice pack over the bridge of the nose. If bleeding is profuse nasal gauze should be applied."
As first-aid care for a nosebleed, Dr Sowmya says we should ask the person having a nosebleed not to panic and make him sit straight and tip the head slightly forward. Ask him not to blow his nose forcefully. If bleeding continues, apply an ice pack on the nose. Make sure that the person does not swallow blood.
However, for long-term treatment, Dr Sowmya says, "If any polyp or growth is detected as the cause of a nosebleed, the primary cause should be treated. For persistent and frequent nosebleeds, we use a medical technique called cauterization which burns the blood vessels in the nose to stop further bleeding."
Steps to stop a nosebleed
If you have a nosebleed after a head injury, or if you have frequent nosebleeds, consult your doctor.