Five Tips-Four Warnings on Treating Nosebleeds (Epistaxis)

When is a nosebleed an emergency? How do you stop a nose bleed? What are the causes? The answers are here.

Every time I walk into a salsa club in Colombia, and get hit in the nose, I have to stop the bleeding. It has only happened twice. Colombian men are very possessive of their wives as it turns out.

At some point you will have a nosebleed (epistemic). Common causes are:

  • Trauma (my personal favorite)
  • A viral infection or cold
  • Sinus infections
  • Allergies
  • Going from a humid to a dry, arid climate
  • Taking blood thinners or aspirin


  • Always use sterile technique and blood precautions (glasses, gloves, and thorough hand washing before and after) if treating a victim.
  • Sit up to take the pressure off of blood vessels in the nose.
  • Pinch the soft part of the nose together and hold together for 7-10 minutes
  • If bleeding continues, cover a cotton ball or piece of gauze with a non-adhering substance like bacitracin antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly. Place in the nasal passage as high as possible.
  • I have also seen expanding foam ear plugs used to stop bleeding with success.

WARNING: Indicators of the need to seek a medical treatment facility are:

  • Heavy bleeding doesn’t stop within 30-40 minutes
  • The person is on blood thinners esp. Coumadin
  • Multiple recurrences if the cause is unknown.
  • Avoid making husbands or wives jealous, especially in salsa clubs.



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