Nosebleeds are common. Most often they are a nuisance and not a true medical problem. But they can be both. During a nosebleed, blood flows from one nostril, or sometimes both nostrils. It can be heavy or light and last from a few seconds to more than 10 minutes.
To take care of a nosebleed:
Sit upright and lean forward. By remaining upright, you reduce blood pressure in the veins of your nose. This discourages further bleeding. Sitting forward will help you avoid swallowing blood, which can irritate your stomach.
Pinch your nose. Use your thumb and index finger to pinch your nostrils shut. Breathe through your mouth. Continue to pinch for 5-10 minutes. Pinching sends pressure to the bleeding point on the nasal septum and often stops the flow of blood.
To prevent re-bleeding. Do not pick or blow your nose and don't bend down for several hours after the bleeding episode. During this time remember to keep your head higher than the level of your heart.
If re-bleeding occurs. Blow out forcefully to clear your nose of blood clots and spray both sides of your nose with a decongestant nasal spray containing oxymetazoline (Afrin, Mucinex Moisture Smart, others). Pinch your nose again as described above and call your doctor.
The inside of your nose is full of tiny blood vessels which can bleed if they are disturbed by a minor injury, such as when picking or blowing your nose.
Nosebleeds can also occur if the moist lining (mucous membrane) inside your nose dries out and becomes crusty. This can be caused by an infection, cold weather or the drying effect of central heating. If the mucous membrane becomes inflamed or cracked, it's more likely to bleed if it is disturbed.
Medical Emergency: Seek medical attention immediately if: the bleeding lasts for more than 20 minutes; if re-bleeding occurs; if the nosebleed follows an accident, a fall or an injury to your head including a punch in the face that may have broken your nose.