First aid for nosebleeds: what to do
Mr James W Fairley BSc MBBS FRCS MS
Consultant ENT Surgeon
© 1993 – 2017 JW Fairley Content last updated 11 May 2011
Nosebleeds are common in children and adults.
Most nosebleeds are just a nuisance, nothing serious.
Occasionally, blood loss is severe. Any loss of blood can be frightening.
To help, you need to:
- Stay calm
- Don’t panic
- Follow these instructions.
Pinching the lower part of the nose between forefinger and thumb will stop most nosebleeds. Keep the pressure on for ten minutes.
What to do if your nose is actively bleeding
- Sit down
- Lean forward
- Pinch the lower, soft part of the nose firmly between forefinger and thumb, completely blocking it
- Breathe through the mouth
- Allow any blood that comes down the back of the nose to trickle out of the mouth, into a bowl, a towel or whatever is to hand
- Do not let go of the nose for at least ten minutes, timed on a clock or watch
- If the bleeding re-starts when you release the presure, repeat the steps above
- If the bleeding persists despite doing all this properly, seek medical help.
- In case of severe bleeding or airway / breathing problems, call 999 for an ambulance (UK), or go directly to your nearest Accident & Emergency department.
If you get repeated nosebleeds you may find it more convenient to use nasal plugs such as
Seal-On™, available at pharmacies, or via Amazon.
All information and advice on this website is of a general nature and may not apply to you. There is no substitute for an individual consultation. We recommend that you see your General Practitioner if you would like to be referred