Everyday first aid – dealing with nosebleeds

The correct way to treat everyday injuries like cuts, scrapes and burns is one of the first things you will learn when you take a first aid training course. Such minor injuries may not seem like a big deal, but they can worsen and turn into something more serious (especially if the affected person is a child) if not properly treated.

Amongst the most common everyday medical problems you are likely to come across are nosebleeds, which nearly everyone will experience at least once in their lives. Caused by a blow to the nose, high blood pressure or even just sneezing, nosebleeds can be dangerous if the casualty loses too much blood.

Proper first aid training is recommended to find out more about treating nosebleeds, but here are a few basic tips to remember:

  • Your main aims when treating a person with a nosebleed are to control and limit blood loss, and to keep an airway open
  • Never tilt the person’s head back – this is how many people think a nosebleed should be treated, but it can cause blood to run down the throat
  • Ask the person to tilt their head forward instead, as they breathe through their mouth and keep pinching the soft part of the nose
  • Try to prevent the person from coughing, spitting, sniffing, swallowing or even speaking – this can dislodge blood clots
  • If the bleeding has not stopped within 30 minutes, during which pressure is applied through pinching to the nose, it’s time to take the person to hospital.