Nosebleeds can run the gamut from a tiny trickle to a big gush. But while it may be disturbing to see blood drip from your otherwise placid nose, there is usually no need to worry. There are many effective home remedies for nosebleeds, and nosebleeds are typically harmless annoyances. While it may look like you're losing lots of blood, the amount is usually insignificant.
The inner nose is one of the more sensitive parts of the body. Lined with hundreds of blood vessels that reside close to the surface, the nostrils don't take kindly to being harassed and will bleed with little provocation.
Provocation can come from a number of sources. These are the main reasons your nose might bleed:
- Trauma, such as a fall or a sports-related injury
- Dry air
- High altitudes
- Nose picking
- Nose blowing
- Rubbing the nose
- Upper respiratory infection
- Age (Older people have more nosebleeds because the body's tissues have shrunken and are more dry.)
Vinegar. Take a cloth or cotton ball and wet it with white vinegar. Plug it in the nostril that's bleeding. Vinegar helps seal up the blood vessel wall.
Whole-wheat bread. Zinc is a nutrient known to help maintain the body's blood vessels. Eat whole-wheat bread and brown rice, two foods high in zinc. Or, for a snack, try some popcorn, which also contains zinc.
Home Remedies from the Freezer
Ice. Ice is nice for stopping bleeding, constricting the blood vessels, and reducing inflammation (if the nose is injured). Place crushed iced into a plastic zipper-type bag and cover with a towel. (A bag of frozen vegetables works fine, too.) Place the compress on the bridge of the nose and hold until well after the bleeding stops.
Home Remedies from the Refrigerator
Dark-green leafy vegetables. These are high in vitamin K, which is essential for proper blood clotting.
Oranges and orange juice. Keeping those blood vessels in top form is one way to prevent them from breaking so easily. Vitamin C is necessary to the formation of collagen, which helps create a moist lining in your nose. So drink and eat vitamin C-rich foods to help stave off nosebleeds.
Home Remedies from the Sink
Water. Dry winter air and mountain air can dry out the nose in no time. Being well hydrated helps. Always drink 8 glasses of water a day, but have a few more during the driest times and in the driest places.
Home Remedies from the Spice Rack
Salt. Nasal irrigation, commonly used by allergy sufferers to rid the nasal passages of mucus, dust, and other gunk, also helps soothe and moisturize irritated nasal membranes. You'll need 1 to 11/2 cups lukewarm water (do not use softened water), a bulb (ear) syringe (typically found with baby products in the pharmacy), 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Mix the salt and baking soda into the water, and test the temperature. To administer, suck in the water using the bulb, and squirt the saline solution into one nostril while holding the other closed. Lower your head over the sink and gently blow out the water. Repeat this, alternating nostrils until the water is gone.
Home Remedies from the Stove
Steam. Take every opportunity to breathe steam, whether it's from your morning tea or from a mini steam bath. To do the latter, boil 1/2 pot water and put on a sturdy surface. Place a towel over your head, lean forward, and breathe gently. Don't lean in too far, or you'll burn your sniffer! Try a mini steam bath twice a day.
Home Remedies from the Supplement Shelf
Vitamin E. Keep your nasal membranes moisturized by applying vitamin E several times a day. Break open a capsule and coat your pinky finger or a cotton swab and gently wipe it just inside your nostrils. This is especially good to do at night before going to sleep.
Do's and Don'ts
- DO be nice to your nose. Resist the urge to blow it or touch it after a nosebleed.
- DO pick flowers, not your nose. Fingers only irritate the nose. Use a soft tissue or nasal irrigation if you need to remove debris.
- DO blow gently, one nostril at a time, and only when necessary.
- DON'T smoke. Smoking irritates and dries out nasal passages. Stay out of smoky environments, too, as secondhand smoke is just as damaging.
- DO treat your allergies. Constant sneezing and blowing the nose due to hay fever is tough on those delicate nasal membranes. Stop sniffling, and see your physician about allergy remedies.
Visit these links to find more information about home remedies for other health issues, such as respiratory ailments and cuts:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- Cut yourself? Learn about ways to stop the bleeding and speed healing in Home Remedies for Cuts.
- For information about allergies and how to combat them, visit Home Remedies for Allergies.
- How to Prevent Respiratory Infections can help you keep your respiratory system healthy -- which might also help prevent nosebleeds.
ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS:
Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.
David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.