Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How to Fix a Nosebleed

  1. First, you must be committed to the project. If you are not committed, just stop reading now and resign yourself to wandering around with wads of toilet paper trailing from your nose for the rest of the winter.
  2. An important thing to know is what causes nosebleeds. The vast majority of the time they are due to a combination of dry air, vigorous noseblowing, and most especially picking. Yes, you know you do it when no one's looking. Just admit it and let's move on.
  3. Another important thing to know is that what you are looking to do is create a blood clot in your nose and leave it there. More on this in a moment.
  4. OK then. When you feel that familiar warm trickle, the first thing to remember is, pinch. (Also that hydrogen peroxide will remove bloodstains from fine clothing.) Pinch the squishy part of your nose up as close to the firm part as you can. How hard to pinch? Hard.
  5. Next, lean slightly forward. This is so that the blood will pool at the dam you've created by pinching. If you lean back, it won't clot, it will just drain down the back of your throat and make you feel like hurling.
  6. This step is critical: Maintain the position for at least 10 minutes. Watch the clock. Do not cheat. It is boring, yes, but it's better than the excitement of mopping up more blood. (A trick: two tongue depressors taped together at one end make an effective nose-pincher, freeing up your hands and providing welcome amusement to onlookers who are annoyed about the blood everywhere.)
  7. After your time is up, you can stop squeezing and see if the bleeding has stopped. But DO NOT BLOW YOUR NOSE. This is torture — all you'll want to do is blow your nose — but you must resist. No noseblowing for the rest of the day. (And no more picking for the rest of the winter.)
  8. If the bleeding hasn't quite stopped, repeat steps 4-7 above.
  9. If the bleeding still hasn't stopped, move to plan B: nasal decongestant spray. Yes, we usually say they're worse than crack, but in this situation they are quite useful. They constrict blood vessels, and you can see how that could help. At this point you are allowed to GENTLY blow your nose ONCE to clear the way, then use one squirt of nasal decongestant spray. Then repeat steps 4-7.
  10. Still no luck? Repeat step 9.
  11. 99% of nosebleeds will be done way before this. If not, you can go to the ER and get nasal packing, which is basically a tampon shoved up your nose.
  12. You don't have leukemia.

19 comments:

nate (a medical librarian & mama) said...

How about saline spray, like Little Noses? The plain stuff, not the stuff w/ additives. I started using it when pregnant--somehow my nose was insanely dry that winter--and now everyone in the family is a total junky... Anyway, I'll be heartbroken if I find out they're really hurtful in the end!

DoctorMama said...

Nah, you can use that stuff all you want as far as I know.
You can even use the decongestant spray when you have a cold, if you use it only at night and in only one nostril at a time, alternating each night.

MFA Mama said...

LMAO @ the "you don't have leukemia." Wonder what inspired you to add that part? Thanks for the useful tips--how exactly to deal with a nosebleed has been a hot topic lately at casa MFA.

thumbscre.ws said...

Thank you thank you thank you! I never knew exactly what to do when faced with a gusher... this will be very helpful.

Re: picking. Aw, man... my cover's blown. I was hoping to convince everyone that my frequent nosebleeds were because I had a nose of delicate and refined character. Now they're going to know the truth (which is that I spend all winter excavating concrete-hard snot-o-liths from within there).

New nasal excitement in our home today: Snotty Son was nursing earlier (and making awful noises... kind of like having a small, pink Darth Vader affixed to one's boob). Suddenly, a half-teaspoon's worth of milky white stuff dribbled out of one nostril. Was it snot? Was it milk? Was it a Grey Goose martini (I hope not, 'cause if so, he should haved shared)? The world may never know!

bihari said...

Preach it, sister. The next time someone shows up at the ER with a nosebleed, I will make them read your blog before I shove the aforementioned tampon up his/her nose.

Except for the little old ladies with leukemia. THEM, I'll pack.

DoctorMama said...

I knew I was committed to breastfeeding when HellBoy got his first cold and I had to press his snot-smeared snout to my naked bosom. I admit I hesitated for a moment.

I'm hoping that the LOLs with leukemia aren't reading my post!

Feral Mom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Feral Mom said...

Ahem. As I was trying to type before my brain exploded...No nose picking for the rest of the winter? [shudder] Seriously, this shit is habit-forming. It started last winter when the booger cave sprouted a series of extra large, extra crunchy stalagtites, which needed to be removed. Then it became a daily ritual, sometimes the highlight of my day. I never left the house then. Now I appear in public regularly, and sometimes begin mining for gold without thinking (and without a kleenix handy). Do you suppose there are support groups for this?

Christie said...

Huh, and to think I tell my patients just to stick a finger up their nose and hold it for 10 minutes...maybe this'll go over a little better????

Anonymous said...

How do you use nose spray in more than one nostril at a time? Do they make double-pronged nose sprays? :)

Denise said...

Sorry, the above was me.

roo said...

Thanks for the tip. But I never pick my nose. And I never lie about disgusting habits, especially in the comments section.

Diane said...

Just admit it and lets move on!

Too funny!

kelly said...

But, Mooooooooom, I want leukemia!

No, seriously, this was very useful, thank you. I've gotten nosebleeds like crazy since I moved cross-country three years ago (not used to the much more dry cold, maybe?) and since I work with people living with HIV/AIDS, any kind of bleeding is always a little ... awkward.

Anonymous said...

Great site! You are a genuinely funny writer, you remind me a bit of Helen Fielding - author of the Bridget Jones Diaries :) I am really sick today and you made me laugh so thanks!! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah and I also learned that I can use nasal decongestant spray the morning after a nighttime nosebleed!

Syber said...

This is a great site. I learn a lots. Now I can be happy every time whenever i am not well.

Syber said...

This is a great site. I learn a lots. Now I can be happy every time whenever i am not well.

Aida said...

Great tips. Thanks for sharing. :)