Nosebleeds can be primary; where there is no clear underlying cause or secondary; where there is a clear cause. Secondary causes can be local (trauma, infection, tumour) or systemic (blood thinning medicines, blood clotting disorders, high blood pressure, inflammatory diseases).
Most nosebleeds can easily be treated at home by sitting upright leaning slightly forward, pinching the soft part of the nose for 10-15 minutes without letting go, and placing an ice pack at the top of the nose/forehead.
You should seek urgent medical attention if
- a nosebleed lasts longer than 10-15 minutes
- bleeding seems excessive
- you are swallowing blood
- bleeding starts after an injury to the head
- you feel weak or dizzy
- you have difficulty breathing
It is a good idea to see a doctor if
- A child under 2 has a nosebleed
- You have regular nosebleeds
- You have symptoms of anaemia (palpitations or fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, pale skin)
- You are taking blood thinning medication
- You have a blood clotting disorder