Monday, August 8, 2011

First Aid Tutorial: Nosebleeds (epistaxis)

For my initial first aid tutorial, I wanted to go over nosebleeds, or epistaxis. Epistaxis is the medical term and most people will probably never use it unless you look at a medical chart.  Nosebleeds can be caused by high blood pressure (hypertension), trauma to the nose, a sinus infection, and even nose picking. Also they can be more dangerous due to blood thinners like aspirin, ibuprofen, Coumadin, alcohol, etc and diseases like hemophilia. The main reason I really wanted to put this tutorial out first is because so many people have misconceptions about nosebleeds, and often make them worse. This is because there are many old wives tales and rumors about what you should do. Let's go over what I learned in my emergency medical training.
Steps to stopping a nosebleed:
1. Keep them relaxed, comfortable, and encourage them not to speak.
2. Have the person take a seat and then lean forward.
-We do NOT want the person to swallow the blood! This can cause nausea which leads to vomiting.
3. Apply pressure to the lower, meaty end of the nose at the nostrils.
4. If the person looks like they will pass out or can't perform these actions, then you will need to call for emergency medical assistance.
5. If the person does become unconscious or if blood is going into the lungs, place the person on their side (recovery position) and attempt to provide suction (if available) and do your best to keep their airway clear. Remember, no airway = no breathing = no circulation. That's the ABCs and the most important thing to remember when treating any condition.

Please remember that nosebleeds are very rarely serious. All too often people show up in the ER lobby with small bleeds which clot up by the time they get to the room. Small bleeds like this are most dangerous because a more seriously ill patient won't be seen as quickly. To help you determine whether or not it is dangerous, consider age, medications, and blood pressure. Often high blood pressure will be accompanied with other symptoms like eye-pain.

Liability: As with all medical advice, I have to recommend that you to follow up with your primary care doctor on any medical issues you experience. Basically only your personal doctor knows you and your unique conditions.

24 comments:

  1. I haven't had a nose bleed since I was in first grade but I just remember them telling me to tilt my head back. I had no idea it could be caused by taking aspirin though, i pop those things like candy when ever I feel pain, but never had a nose bleed from it.

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  2. Very detailed guide to dealing with a nosebleed. That's one condition I honestly wished I got more than once in my life. I am looking forward to future first-aid guides!

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  3. @MasterPhreak Nosebleeds aren't caused by a blood thinner like aspirin. The thing is if you do get a bleed, then a blood thinner like aspirin will impair your bodies natural ability to clot the hole in your skin. I understand your confusion though ;)

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  4. Wow, a friend of mine has this.. no eye pain per-say, but he gets his eyes reeaallly red. like pink eye only it isnt. he has really high blood pressure, but is only 23. What do you think?

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  5. Also, I love when people use medical terms, I used to work for a medical office as their billing manager.. I know a lot of them. My favorite being enuresis... such a bombastic word for something so simple.

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  6. Havnt actually seen anyone have a nose bleed in the last 6 years, but this could just come in handy to know in the future.

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  7. Oo, thank you so much for this.
    will come in handy one day, Im sure of it.

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  8. @Allebanna It could be many things. Most likely it would be dehydration or irritation from eyedrops/contact lenses. Allergies maybe. Does he do drugs? Like I said, it could be many things. If that is his only symptom, he should see an optometrist to narrow it down with tests.

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  9. this is very helpful! I never knew how to deal with them.

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  10. This is really cool info to know. I hadn't had a nosebleed in years and suddenly started getting them again at one point. Stopped now, but it was really weird...

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  11. i used to get nosebleeds alot then i learned how to fight better, and now i GIVE nosebleeds

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  12. I rarely ever get nosebleeds, maybe i'm just lucky...

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  13. strangely enough, I've never hada nose bleed!

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  14. Luckily for me I never get nosebleeds

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  15. This is really helpful, thanks for the protips

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  16. I usually just swallow it all, cause im a boss

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  17. Oh, this is useful. I often have nose bleeds. :S
    Following and supporting, mate! :)

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  18. Next time I see someone I know with a nosebleed, I will be able to deal with them like a pro! thanks!

    +followed

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  19. My kid niece always has nosebleeds (probably from picking her nose). Do these bleeds require a different method to slow down, or does this work for all types?

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  20. ive always been told to pinch the bony part of the nose, nice to know

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  21. Good to know. My brother gets these all the time.

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  22. Very interesting I only seem to get them after being punched in the face in sparring lol

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  23. i remember that i use to get nosebleeds all the time as a kid. and then, growing up, they started to slowly go away. i've heard its usually the other way around. lucky me :)

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