Questions about nosebleeds

Q: Why did you start this site?
A: We've travelled all over the world and encountered people with nosebleeds in all sorts of places. Almost all the people we've met with nose bleeds had their own method of stopping them. Mostly, however, these were bad and/or slow methods - like leaning back and letting the blood flow down your throat. When we first show people the Thumbs Up method there is often some resistance - perhaps it's just too simple - but once they've tried it, people swear by it and never look back. This website is dedicated to spreading this simple but important knowledge and thereby making the world a (slightly) better place.

Q: What types of blood nose does this method work and not work for?
A: The Thumbs Up method is good for nosebleeds at the front of the nose (anterior nose bleeds). These can be caused by colds, drying winter air, or medicines such as antihistamines or decongestants that dry the nose out and make it susceptible to nosebleeds. Nosebleeds that occur at the back of the nasal passage (called posterior nosebleeds) can't be stopped using this method. This type of nose bleed is more common in older people or is sometimes caused by facial injury.

Q: Why does this method work?
A: For any wound the standard way to stop bleeding is applying pressure and elevating the wound. Most of us know this, but for some reason when it comes to bloody noses we seem to use all sorts of other methods that ignore it. Even the traditional method of pinching the bridge of your nose is near useless - this is the hard bit of your nose so you aren't actually applying pressure to the wound.
The Thumbs Up method uses the thumb because it's your fattest digit. This means it can apply pressure across the whole width of the nostril (you don't have to use your thumb if you don't want to - a forefinger works quite well too). The method also suggests you sit upright so that your nose is elevated above your heart. Pressure and elevation - simple.

Q: What else can I do to help my nosebleed stop?
A: Get cool. If you're hot more blood is pumped through the capillaries in your nose as part of your body's natural cooling system. Move yourself to somewhere cooler, take off some clothes or, if available, try place an ice pack, cold compress, or wrapped packet of frozen peas on the bridge of your nose - this helps with the clotting.
To stop the bleeding reoccuring, some people suggest applying vaseline (or similar) to the area once your nosebleed has stopped and the nose is clear. This prevents the little scabs from drying out - making it less likely that your nose will start bleeding again if the scabs are knocked off.

Q: What happens if my nose doesn't stop bleeding after more than 30 min.?
A: The Thumbs Up method is very good at stopping blood noses. If yours hasn't stopped after 2 full attempts (20 minutes) consider seeking professional medical advice especially if the bleeding is heavy. A doctor can pack your nose to stop the bleeding. We do not recommend attempting to pack your nose yourself.

Q: Why is it bad to swallow blood?
A: Except in rare circumstances, swallowing a bit of blood is not actually that bad for you. It can make you feel sick though, which is reason enough to avoid it. If you're using the Thumbs Up method to stop your nosebleed and find you're swallowing blood, you may not be doing it correctly. Make sure you are upright and leaning forward slightly - doing this will help to stop your bloody nose faster.

Q: I get nosebleeds pretty regularly. What should I do?
A: See your doctor. There are various treatment options available that may help stop your frequent nose bleeds. One of the simplest options is to cauterize the offending blood vessel(s) using silver nitrate. This can often prevent nosebleeds from ever happening again, or at least stop them for a while.
Some medications can also contribute to an increased risk of nosebleeds. These medicines include blood-thinning agents such as aspirin, any type of anti-inflammatory, warfarin, clopidogrel and persantin. Again, talk to your doctor about this if you are concerned about it.
Nose bleeds often occur in people with high blood pressure, platelet disorders and other bleeding disorders. Your doctor should check you for these with a blood pressure check, a physical examination and blood tests (as well as looking in your nose!).

Q: I want to impress my friends - what is the medical term for nosebleeds?
A: Epistaxis - [from new Latin, from Greek, from epistazein to drip on, to bleed at the nose again, from epi- + stazein to drip]

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