The medical term for a nosebleed is epistaxis. Because of the position of the nose – right in the middle of the face – and its high density of blood vessels, most of us will have had at least one nosebleed at some time during our lives.
Although seldom a cause for alarm, nosebleeds can be life-threatening in rare cases.
Nosebleeds are most often caused by local trauma but can also be caused by foreign bodies, nasal or sinus infections, and prolonged inhalation of dry air.
What to do when a nosebleed occurs?
The first step is to stop the bleeding:
- Sit down and pinch the soft parts of the nose firmly, breathe through the mouth.
- Apply an ice pack to the nose and cheek to soothe the area.
- Apply an ice pack on your head to help you cool down, a sudden change in temperature leads to nose bleeds
- Nosebleeds in elderly may be out of hypertension. Check their blood pressure and give them their medication.
Speaking to My Medical Mantra Dr Neelam Sathe, associate professor and ENT Department Unit Head at KEM Hospital, said, “During summer months, we witnesses several cases of nosebleeds. The reason behind this is that the hot climate with low humidity or sudden changes in temperature, can cause drying and cracking inside the nose, which can lead to a nosebleed.”
She added, “But in elderly people it can be caused due to high blood pressure. Seniors need to be more cautious of their health during summers and take care of themselves. We such patients every year, but these instances seem to increase each year.”
How to prevent nosebleeds
- Do not go out in the hot weather. Cover your head with a cap or scarf and cover the nose with a folded kerchief or cotton cloth to avoid hot air coming in.
- Keep the inside of your nose moist, apply lubricating ointment, such as petroleum jelly, inside the nose.
- To maintain moistness of the nose, you can use over the counter nose drops.
- Don’t smoke, as smoking can irritate the inside of your nose and dry it out.
- Drink plenty of water and keep your body well hydrated.
Dr Rahul Kularni, an ENT surgeon based in Kalwa said, “The lining of your nose contains many tiny blood vessels that lie close to the surface and are easily damaged. To protect these vessels, there is a jelly like layer also known as mucus, which keeps the nose moist. Due to dry summer winds this layer dries up, causing the blood vessels to open and burst. This causes the nosebleed. Per day, I see at least one patient with this problem.”