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Epistaxis

What is it?

Epistaxis (eh-pih-staks-sis) is a nosebleed. It is common in both children and adults. It often happens during dry weather or in areas where the air is dry.

Causes:

Nosebleeds may be caused by an injury to the nose or when the inside of the nose is dry. An infection can also cause a nosebleed. Other causes may be high blood pressure, kidney or liver disease, or bleeding problems. An object stuck in the nose may also cause bleeding.

Signs and Symptoms:

You may have dark or bright red bleeding from the nose. You may feel dizzy if you lose a lot of blood. If you swallow blood, your BMs may look black.

Wellness Recommendations:

Use a humidifier at home if you live in a dry climate. Spray the inside of your nose with salt water 3 to 4 times a day. This will decrease the drying out of the mucus membranes inside your nose and help prevent nosebleeds.

Medical Care:

  • You may need to have your nose packed if the nosebleed will not stop bleeding. Or the blood vessels may need to be cauterized (burned shut). If your nose is still bleeding, you may need to be put in the hospital for more tests and care.
  • Do not blow your nose for 12 hours after the bleeding stops. This will keep you from breaking loose any blood clots that have formed. Do not pick your nose or put anything into it.
  • If the bleeding starts again, sit up and lean forward. Breathe through your mouth. Pinch the soft part of your nose tightly for 10 minutes without letting go.
  • Your nose may bleed again if you lift heavy objects or do too much work right away. You should relax and stay quiet to allow your nose to heal.
  • For the next few days, keep your head on several pillows when lying down. This keeps your nose from bleeding as much and slows down the bleeding.
  • If there is no packing in your nose, put a small amount of petroleum jelly inside the nostril 2 times a day for 4 or 5 days. This will help keep your nose from drying out or getting irritated.
  • Do not use aspirin or drink alcohol for 2 or 3 days because this may start the bleeding again. You should also not drink hot drinks for 2 or 3 days.
  • You may start doing your normal activities when you feel better.

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.

Herbs:

    Supplements:

      Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

      Talk to your caregiver if:

      • You would like medicine to treat nosebleeds.
      • Your symptoms have not gone away or improved by these self-help measures.
      • You have bruises on other parts of your body and you do not know what caused them.
      • Your nose is still bleeding after you have been treated.
      • You are nauseated (upset stomach) or vomit (throw up).
      • You have questions about what you have read in this document.

    SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

    • You get weak, dizzy, or sweaty all over.
    • You get chest pain or are short of breath.
    • You pass out (faint) or feel like you may pass out.

    Care agreement: You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

    References:

    1. Berkow R & Beers MH (eds): The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 17th ed. Merck Research Labs, Rathway, NJ; 1999.

    2. Griffith HW: Instructions for Patients, 5th ed. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, PA; 1994.

    3. Smeltzer SC & Bare BG: Brunner and Suddarth's Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing, 8th ed. Lippincott-Raven Publishers, Philadelphia, PA; 1996.

    4. Taylor C, Lillis C & LeMone P (eds): Fundamentals of Nursing, The Art and Science of Nursing Care. Lippincott-Raven Publishers, Philadelphia, PA; 1997.


    Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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