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How to stop a nosebleed

My husband had a nosebleed (epistaxis) this afternoon.  He flew from Singapore to STL yesterday, so I would venture a guess that the lack of humidity in the cabins caused his nasal mucosa to dry out, thus setting him up for the gusher.  As he leaned forward over the sink with tissue in hand, he called out to me to bring him more tissue.

Being the sympathetic wife that I am, I asked if I could bring him a tampon instead.  He replied, “sure.”

So, I did.

When I brought it to him, he sort of chuckled and said he thought I was kidding, but that the nosebleed had pretty much stopped on its own.

When I worked as a nurse in northern Illinois, we had a patient that had horrible nosebleeds.  I mean to the point that he was frequently sent to the ER for nasal packing.  At one point, his physician ordered for us to use tampons to stave the bleeding to avoid multiple ER trips a week.  And, it worked.  It wasn’t pretty, but it saved his family a ton of money in ambulance bills and ER bills.  Of course, this gentleman had other medical issues which prompted his frequent nosebleeds.

Most nosebleeds are not dangerous, although it can seem like a lot of blood is lost.  Children usually get more nosebleeds than adults because of trauma (fingers in the nose, ball in the face) and for them it can seem quite scary.  As a nurse, I learned that stopping a nosebleed can really be quite simple.

If you have a nosebleed, you can follow these simple steps to stop it (**please note—this is not intended to substitute the advice of your medical professional!  If you suffer frequent nosebleeds, please inform your healthcare provider, as it can be an indicator of more serious medical conditions**)

  • Lean forward, not back.  If you tilt your head back, the blood can run down your throat into your stomach and cause nausea.
  • Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch your nose just below the bony bridge for five minutes. Your finger should be partially on the bony bridge and partially on the soft portion of your nose.  Do not check for bleeding before the five minutes is up, as it could cause the clot to dislodge and start bleeding again.
  • After five minutes, check for bleeding.  If bleeding persists, reapply pinching pressure in five minutes intervals.   If a nose bleed hasn’t stopped after twenty minutes of pressure you should seek medical attention.  If you feel dizzy or light headed, call 9-1-1.
  • Applying ice can help slow/stop the bleeding as ice cause vaso-constriction
  • Do NOT blow your nose after the bleeding stops, regardless of how tempting it may seem.  Yes, you may feel like you have a huge boogie in there.  It’s a clot.  Blowing your nose can dislodge it and start the bleeding process all over.
  • If all else fails, grab a tampon.  Really, it can stave the bleeding long enough for you to get to the hospital.  Chances are, if ice and pressure didn’t stop the bleeding, you may need to have a ruptured vessel cauterized.

If your bloody nose was caused by nasal dryness, like my husbands, try using a nasal moisturizer like the one found in Ocean Complete Sinus Irrigation. With winter coming up, you may also want to consider a humidifier.  We have a whole house humidifier that we use at home and the Hunter Care-Free 2.2-gallon Humidifier Plus with Exclusive NiteGlo Night Light that we take with us when we travel.  We love both.


This site uses affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
About Virginia

Hi there! My name is Virginia, and I am the author/owner of That Bald Chick. I am a Christian, wife, mother of three, full time homemaker, homeschooler, and ministry volunteer in addition to being a blogger. In my free time *cough* I enjoy reading, writing, taking walks with my family, and listening to music.


  1. This is excellent information! See, I always thought you should lean your head back. And the tampon is a great idea (funny, but great). It makes perfect sense.