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.
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.