EPISTAXIS (NOSE BLEEDS
Most nose bleeds (or epistaxis) are mere nuisances.
Some are quite frightening.
A few are even life threatening.
Doctors classify nose bleeds into two different types-
It is important to try to make the distinction since posterior nosebleeds are often quite severe.
They almost always require care from a doctor.
Posterior nose bleeds are more likely to occur in older people. They are more common in patients with high blood pressure and in cases of injury to the nose or face.
Nosebleeds in children are almost always of the anterior type.
Anterior nose bleeds are common in dry climates and when the air is dry. The dry air causes the nasal membranes to crust, crack and bleed.
This can be prevented if you will place a bit off lubricating cream or ointment (e.g. Vaseline, Bactroban ointment) and gently rub it on the middle portion of the nose (the septum).
Up to three applications a day may be needed, but usually every bedtime is enough.
Warfarin, Aspirin (or Aspirin containing products) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (e.g.Brufen, Voltaren) thin the blood. This can cause bleeding, or can cause the bleeding to persist.
If the nosebleeds persist you should see your doctor, who may recommend cautery to the blood vessel that is causing trouble.
To stop an anterior nosebleed
If you or your child has an anterior nose bleed, you may be able to care for it yourself by taking the following steps:
To prevent re-bleeding after bleeding has stopped:
If re-bleeding occurs:
Clear nose of all blood clots by sniffing forcefully
When to call the doctor or go to the Accident and Emergency:
If your nose bleeds are severe and/or recurrent, please call 031 201 3118 for an appointment.
A complete history will be taken, and a thorough examination of the nasal passages will be performed (including nasal endoscopy). Further management will depend on the site and cause of the nose bleed, and will be in keeping with best ENT specialist practice guidelines.