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Nosebleed

Nosebleeds aren't usually a sign of anything serious. They're common, particularly in children, and most can be easily treated at home.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • a child under 2 years old has a nosebleed
  • you have regular nosebleeds
  • you have symptoms of anaemia – such as a faster heartbeat (palpitations), shortness of breath and pale skin
  • you're taking a blood-thinning medicine, such as warfarin
  • you have a condition that means your blood can't clot properly, such as haemophilia

Your GP might want to test you for haemophilia or for other conditions such as anaemia.

Immediate action required: Go to A&E if:

  • your nosebleed lasts longer than 10 to 15 minutes
  • the bleeding seems excessive
  • you're swallowing a large amount of blood that makes you vomit
  • the bleeding started after a blow to your head
  • you're feeling weak or dizzy
  • you're having difficulty breathing

Causes of a nosebleed

The inside of the nose is delicate and nosebleeds happen when it's damaged. This can be caused by:

Nosebleeds that need medical attention can come from deeper inside the nose and usually affect adults. They can be caused by:

Sometimes the cause of a nosebleed is unknown.

Certain people are more prone to getting nosebleeds, including:

How to stop a nosebleed yourself

You should:

Hospital treatment

If doctors can see where the blood is coming from they may seal it by pressing a stick with a chemical on it to stop the bleeding.

If this isn't possible, doctors might pack your nose with sponges to stop the bleeding. You may need to stay in hospital for a day or two.

When a nosebleed stops

After a nosebleed, for 24 hours try not to: