ENT Specialty Center
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Winter - the Nosebleed season
A sudden nosebleed can be frightening, but typically they are not. This time of year we treat more patients for this problem than any other time of the year. Some of the causes are:
- Those who live in dry or centrally-heated or cooled environments can experience severe dryness, itchiness, and irritation of the nasal membranes and nose bleeds.
COLD & ALLERGIES
– These conditions can cause you to blow your nose more frequently than normal. This can lead to dryness, irritation, and inflammation of the nasal membranes. All of these can bring on a nose bleed.
– Accidental injury to the blood vessels in the nostril from a blow to the nose, scratching or picking inside the nose, or even pushing a tissue up into the nostril can cause the nose to bleed.
MEDICATIONS - Anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) used to treat pain can all cause nosebleeds. Because blood clotting is a necessary step in preventing or stopping a nosebleed, any medication that changes the blood’s ability to clot can cause a bloody nose — or make one harder to stop.
UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS
- Heart conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) and congestive heart failure can also cause nosebleeds, as can hypertensive crisis —due to a sudden, rapid increase in blood pressure.
Liver disease, kidney disease, chronic alcohol consumption, or another underlying health condition can lower your blood’s ability to clot and therefore cause your nose to bleed.
Here are some suggestions to help you prevent this common wintertime health problem:
If your home or workplace is prone to dryness, try using a saline nasal gel to rehydrate the tissues of the inner nose. A humidifier may also add moisture to a dry environment. Be sure to clean and dry this appliance regularly to prevent mold or mildew build up that can lead to allergies.
Try to drink more water and juices, avoid caffeine and alcohol. This will help to moisturize the membranes and thin nasal secretions.
Take an expectorant (Mucinex 600mg twice a day or Guaifenesin 400mg three times a day) with plenty of water to moisturize your nasal membranes.
Be gentle with your nose (no picking, rubbing, or hard nose blowing or sneezing through your nose). Try to sneeze with your mouth open. You are allowed to wipe your nose downward but not upward.
Your doctor may ask you to stop medications which thin your blood such as: Aspirin, ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, fish oil, vitamin E, Coumadin, warfarin, Plavix, glucosamine, garlic, gingko bilobo, and others.
If nosebleeds occur, we suggest that you sit up and lean forward, blow your nose lightly to remove small clots, squeeze two sprays of Afrin (oxymetazoline) spray into both nostrils, then pinch the nostrils together for ten minutes. (watch the clock, when experiencing a nose bleed time seems to move more quickly than it really is). Apply ice or cold compresses to the bridge of your nose during this time. Refrain from vigorous activity for at least 24 hours after a severe nosebleed and elevate your head on an extra pillow when you sleep.
If you are unable to stop your nosebleed after the ten-minute treatment suggested above call our office and our staff will fit you into the schedule that day for further treatment.