What can I do to prevent nosebleeds?

  • Use a saline nasal spray or saline nose drops two to three times a day in each nostril to keep your nasal passages moist. These products can be purchased over-the-counter or made at home. (To make the saline solution at home: mix 1 teaspoon of salt into 1 quart of tap water. Boil water for 20 minutes, cool until lukewarm.)
  • Add a humidifier to your furnace or run a humidifier in your bedroom at night to add moisture to the air.
  • Spread water-soluble nasal gels or ointments in your nostrils with a cotton swab. Bacitracin®, Vaseline®, or Ayr Gel® are examples of over-the-counter ointments you can use. Be sure not to insert the swab more than ¼ inch into your nose. These gels and ointments can be purchased in most pharmacies.
  • Avoid blowing your nose too forcefully.
  • Sneeze through an open mouth. Always sneeze into tissue or into the bend of your arm.
  • Avoid putting anything solid into your nose, including fingers.
  • Limit your use of medications that can increase bleeding, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Please remember that any adjustment to medication, especially prescribed medication such as warfarin (Coumadin®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), should only be done under your doctor’s supervision.
  • See your doctor if your nasal allergy symptoms are not easily controlled with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Make sure you closely follow the directions when using over-the-counter products. Overusing them can cause nosebleeds.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking dries out your nose and irritates it.
  • Wear protective head gear if involved in activities that could result in an injury to your face and nose.
  • Keep your child’s fingernails short.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call your physician.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/23/2019.

References

  • American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery. Nosebleeds. Accessed 10/2/2019.
  • Senecal EL. Chapter 77. Epistaxis. In: Sherman SC, Weber JM, Schindlbeck MA, Rahul G. P. eds. Clinical Emergency Medicine, 1e New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014. Accessed 10/2/2019.
  • Diamond L. Managing Epistaxis. J Am Acad Physician Assistants 2014;27(11):35-39.
  • Merck Manual Consumer Version. Nosebleeds. Accessed 10/2/2019.
  • Viehweg TL, Roberson JB, Hudson JW. Epistaxis: Diagnosis and Treatment. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2006;64(3):511-518. Accessed 10/2/2019.
  • Patient Education Series. Nosebleeds. Nursing 2012;42(10):31. Accessed 10/2/2019.

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