When COVID first worked its way into our everyday lexicon, it was considered to be a low-risk virus with a high transmission rate, a low mortality rate, and symptoms mostly consisting of a sore throat and cough.
In the space of a few months, we were being told that patients were losing their sense of taste and smell, and before long, aches and pains were added to the list.
Since then, a host of symptoms have been associated with COVID infection and as new variants spread around the world, we’ll likely see even more in the coming months.
The question is, where do nosebleeds fit into all of that? Are nosebleeds a sign of COVID and, if so, what can you do about them?
Are Nosebleeds a Sign of COVID-19?
It’s rare to find nosebleeds on a list of COVID symptoms. These symptoms usually include fever, chills, sore throat, headache, cough, loss of taste/smell, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, and aches and pains. Many patients have described it as being akin to a really bad flu, although a number of asymptomatic cases have also been reported.
But while nosebleeds are not listed as a direct cause, there are studies connecting them with COVID. One such study, published in August 2020, reported on 30 patients who presented with nosebleeds between March and April of that year.
All patients were aged between 62 and 76 and were described as having developed “spontaneous epistaxis”, the medical term for nosebleeds, during their treatment.
There are some mitigating circumstances, though. Firstly, all patients had been treated using oxygen therapy. This treatment supplied non-humidified oxygen through a nasal cannula or helmet, and as the study notes, it was a likely cause of the nosebleeds.
They also presented with “crusty rhinitis”, and the damage that this causes to the nasal passages may have increased the risk of nosebleeds.
Furthermore, all patients were receiving anticoagulant drugs. Also known as blood thinners, these drugs don’t actually cause nosebleeds, but they can increase the blood flow once the vessels have erupted.
How to Prevent Nosebleeds During COVID-19
COVID-19 is unlikely to cause nosebleeds directly but if you are sneezing a lot, blowing your nose repeatedly, and suffering from runny nose and sinus problems, the risk increases significantly.
To prevent nosebleeds in such situations, just make sure you keep your nasal passages lubricated, refrain from picking your nose, and don’t blow too hard or too frequently.
Summary: Are Nosebleeds a Sign of Coronavirus?
The arrival of the COVID pandemic was like winning a really crappy lottery. We knew it was possible, but we never expected it to happen. Pandemics are things that happen to other people, usually in Hollywood blockbusters where the protagonist eventually saves the day and somehow enjoys a happy ending despite the near obliteration of the human race.
It has left a trail of destruction all over the world and is taking an unthinkable number of lives with each passing day. It has also caused a lot of confusion. In those early days, it was a novel virus that we knew very little about and even now, many months after the initial destruction, we’re still learning new things about it.
Once you add the new variants to the mix, you have a recipe for bewilderment and it’s easy to see why so many people are worrying that their symptoms are COVID related.
To summarize, nosebleeds are probably not COVID related, at least not directly (and not according to common knowledge at the time of writing). However, there could be an indirect cause, so if you have other symptoms, it might be worth getting yourself tested to determine if you have the virus or not.