Nosebleeds can last anywhere from a few seconds to more than 15 minutes and the extent of blood loss can also vary significantly. The length of time that a nosebleed lasts will depend on everything from the cause to whether or not the individual is taking blood thinning medications.
Nosebleeds are rarely cause for concern but it's important to pay attention to how long it lasts, as a bleed that continues for many minutes could be indicative of a serious problem.
How Long Do Nosebleeds Last?
When your nose starts bleeding, you should sit down, stay calm, lean forward slightly, and pinch the soft part of your nose with your thumb and index finger. Don't release the pressure for at least 5 minutes, and don't be tempted to check whether it is still bleeding or not.
Most nosebleeds managed in this manner will stop after 5 to 10 minutes.
Don't lie down, don't lean back, and don't blow your nose, as this will only create problems (including nausea and breathing difficulties) and prevent the blood from clotting.
You will need to breathe through your mouth during this time and refrain from nose blowing, hot showers, and intense exercise after the bleeding has stopped.
You can also use an ice pack or some frozen vegetables to help stop the bleeding and reduce the swelling. Simply wrap the ice pack or vegetables in a towel and place them over the bridge of the nose.
When to Worry About a Bloody Nose
If the above doesn't work and the nosebleed continues for more than 15-20 minutes, you should seek medical attention and may need to visit the emergency room. This is especially true for anyone taking blood thinning medications (including Aspirin), as well as individuals with very high blood pressure, blood clotting disorders, and accompanying side effects such as heart palpitations, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
Medical intervention should also be sought if the bleeding is heavy or was caused by a potentially serious head injury, including one resulting from a car accident.
If you have frequent nosebleeds that last for many minutes, consult with your doctor. Most nosebleeds are caused by nose picking and nasal dryness and can be prevented by keeping the nose moist with a saline solution, humidifier, and/or a dab of petroleum jelly. The blood vessels in the nose are very delicate and it doesn't take much for these to rupture.
However, nosebleeds can also be a symptom of more serious health conditions, especially if there are other symptoms, and it's important to get checked out.