As a child, the look on my mothers face or whomever noticed that my nose was bleeding, was more horrifying than the symptom itself.
MY MOTHER WOULD PINCH MY NOSE WITH THOSE HUMAN CLOTHS PINS THAT PASSED FOR FINGERS. I OFTEN WONDERED, MIGHT IT BE LESS PAINFUL TO JUST BLEED TO DEATH.
I soon learned not to report my nosebleeds to my mother. I would take a tissue and twist it into my nose like a cork screw. Where it would remain until the river of blood would cease to run. Or, until someone asked me, why I was walking around the neighborhood with a bloody tissue protruding from my nose. Whichever came first.
A bloody nose isn’t the most painful symptom that we can experience. None the less, it should not be ignored. Most nosebleeds tend to have acute causes and can be treated at home. But there are some cases when you will want to get professional help.
NOSEBLEEDS ARE ALSO REFERRED TO BY THEIR MEDICAL NAME, EPISTAXIS. THEY CAN OCCUR IN TWO PLACES: THE ANTERIOR AND THE POSTERIOR IN THE NOSE.
Most nosebleeds occur on the front of the nasal septum, the tissue that separates the two sides of the nose. The septum contains many fragile, easily damaged blood vessels. This type of nosebleed tend to be relatively easy to stop. Less commonly, nosebleeds may occur higher on the septum or deeper in the nose. Such nosebleeds may be harder to control.
Causes of Nosebleeds
Now once while walking in the hood, minding my business, with bloody tissue corkscrew neatly wedged in place. One of the community mothers chose to share a bit of wisdom with me. “Boy”, she called (I was itching to retort “boy is a character on Tarzan”. But kept my cool and avoided the resulting whoopin). She went on:
“YOU KNOW WHY YOU GOT THAT NOSE BLEED”? CAUSE YOU BE GOT YO NOSE IN ANOTHER PEOPLE’S BUSINESS, WHERE IT DON’T BELONG”.
She stopped me in my tracks. In fact, I had my nose in everybody’s business, excluding my own. If this women was correct, I was in certain danger of bleeding to death before puberty. I immediately changed my ways. Eavesdropping on old ladies conversations and rifling through my parents drawers, was know a thing of the past.
Air moving through the nose can dry and irritate the membranes lining the inside of the nose, forming crusts. These crusts bleed when irritated by rubbing, picking, or blowing the nose.
LOW HUMIDITY, ALLERGIES, COLDS, OR SINUSITIS LEAVE THE LINING OF THE NOSE SUSCEPTIBLE TO BECOMING DRY AND IRRITATED. THUS, NOSEBLEEDS OCCUR MORE FREQUENTLY IN THE WINTER WHEN VIRUSES ARE COMMON AND HEATED INDOOR AIR DRIES OUT THE NOSTRILS.
A deviated septum, foreign object in the nose, or other nasal blockage can also cause a nosebleed.
The most common cause is trauma. This can be due to an accident where you sustain facial injuries. In this case the bleed can be both posterior and anterior and require extensive treatment.
Deviated septum or nasal fractures can be caused by a left hook to the schnozzola that will produce blood bath for you and that new suit (lesson no fighting at weddings). Since it is usually anterior, the look of it is often worse than the actual bleed.
Taking blood thinners can turn a small case of dry nose into a red fountain. Since the blood has a slower clotting time than normal, seeking medical attention right away is advised.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE IS ANOTHER FACTOR THAT CAN LEAD TO NOSE BLEEDING IN THE EVENT OF A TRAUMA.
Do It Your Self
Sit down and gently squeeze the soft portion of the nose between your thumb and finger (so that the nostrils are closed) for a full 10 minutes. Lean forward to avoid swallowing the blood and breathe through your mouth. Wait at least 10 minutes before checking if the bleeding has stopped.
MANY NOSEBLEEDS CAN BE CONTROLLED IN THIS WAY IF ENOUGH TIME IS ALLOWED FOR THE BLEEDING TO STOP.
It may help to apply cold compresses or ice across the bridge of the nose. Do NOT pack the inside of the nose with gauze. (it’s kinda late for me on this one)
You should seek a physician if:
- bleeding does not stop after 20 minutes
- bleeding began after an injury to the head
- your nose is misshapen (nose may be broken)
An ounce of prevention
Autumn/Winter Saline Wash
Rinse your nostrils each morning with a sea salt solution using a Neti Pot. One side at a time. Allow the water to drain from one nostril to the other.
Deficiency in Vitamin C is associated with epistaxis.
Bleeding problems can occur with a vitamin K deficiency.
Low zinc levels can impair wound healing
Decreases the fragility of small blood vessels.
So, the next time your child gets a bloody nose. Don’t stare into her face with wide eyed horror. More than likely the child is not in pain. But that look on your face (and the spots of blood on their cotton Tee) is likely to scare him/her into a frenzy.
keep your nose moist, clean and out of other people’s business. Follow my simple suggestion and you should be able to avoid death by epistaxis.
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH NOSE BLEEDS IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW. I CAN’T BE THE ONLY ONE.