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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nosebleeds in the Emergency Room

This could be you...SERIOUSLY.
I am without words, once again, at the number of people that come to the EMERGENCY Room for a common nosebleed. We're not talking about trauma to the face like getting a line drive to the schnoz or a car accident.  These are simple "Oh look, my nose is bleeding. Better go to the Emergency Room" nosebleeds.  Call me cranky (and I am working more night shifts than usual this week,) but if you can't handle a nose bleed....puhleeeze!

Let's go over some basics:


Nose starts to bleed:

  1. Relax! 
  2. Sit down and lean your body and your head slightly forward. This will keep the blood from running down your throat, which can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. (Do NOT lay flat or put your head between your legs, oh yes, it happens.)
  3. Breathe through your mouth. This is a pre-warning for the knuckle-draggers out there, you're about to pinch off your nasal airway to stop the bleeding.
  4. Use your thumb and index finger to pinch together the soft part of your nose. Make sure to pinch the soft part of the nose against the hard bony ridge that forms the bridge of the nose. Squeezing at or above the bony part of the nose will not put pressure where it can help stop bleeding. 
  5. Keep pinching your nose continuously for at least 5 minutes (timed by clock) before checking if the bleeding has stopped. If your nose is still bleeding, continue squeezing the nose for another 10 minutes. 
  6. Once the bleeding stops, DO NOT bend over; strain and/or lift anything heavy; and DO NOT blow, rub, or pick your nose for several hours. You nose pickers out there, you know who you are!

 Please, only go to an Emergency Room (when your nose is bleeding) for the following:


  1. You cannot stop the bleeding after more than 15 to 20 minutes of applying direct pressure. This doesn't mean apply pressure for three minutes, then look up your nose, then apply pressure for three more minutes, then look up your nose again. Keep continuous pressure.
  2. The bleeding was caused by an injury, such as a fall or other blow to the nose or face (AND see #1.)
Now, obviously I can't give medical advice as I am not a physician. But I can tell you that in all my 40 years on this planet, I have NEVER been to an Emergency Room as a patient...especially for one of my near monthly nosebleeds. Yes, I get them...and so do my kids. But we don't run to the ER for them. Sit down, pinch it off, and quit whining.

And yes, if we run out of the official nosebleed plugs in the ER, we use tampons. I've seen it many times.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go see a patient in my ER about a bunyon. Wait...what? Grrrrrr.

Rant over.

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