A nosebleed is one of the most misunderstood medical conditions. In Hollywood, it’s a sign that you’re telepathic, stressed, or about to be murdered by a supernatural being. In real life, it usually means you’ve been picking your nose.
For some reason, there’s something about nosebleeds that creates a massive disconnect between what people believe and how things actually work. In this guide, we’ll look at the biggest misunderstanding and myths concerning nosebleeds.
Myth 1: You Should Tilt Your Head Back
The internet is often blamed for the spread of misinformation. It’s the age of “Fake News”, where everyone is so distrustful of the media that even honest reporting is dubbed false if it doesn’t agree with a person’s beliefs. But it has helped to dispel more myths than it has created, and nosebleeds are a great example of this.
A couple of decades ago, if your friend told you that you need to tilt your head back when you have a nosebleed because, “It helps to prevent blood loss”, you’d probably believe them, especially if they backed it up with, “My friend’s friend is a nurse and she told me.”
Today, you can pull out your phone, google it, and call them an idiot.
Unless you take your search to the deepest recesses of internet forums and Facebook groups, it’s actually hard to find anyone who still believes this, but it used to be very common. After all, when you’re losing a lot of blood, your natural instinct is to stop that, and tilting your head back will do that.
The reason it’s false (and dangerous) is because all of that blood will pool in your throat and stomach, as opposed to harmlessly running down the drain.
Myth 2: You Should Lie Down
The idea that you should lie down with a nosebleed was also probably started due to the fact that it stops the blood from running out of the nose. But just like when you tilt your head back, this will only cause the blood to run down your throat, preventing you from breathing easily and making you nauseous.
Experts recommend that you sit straight, lean forward, and gently pinch the soft part of your nose. Hold this position for 5 to 10 minutes and the bleed should stop.
Myth 3: Stress Causes Nosebleeds
Stress doesn’t cause nosebleeds, at least not directly. This is another myth perpetuated by Hollywood, and it usually suggests that if you think too hard and stress too much, your nose will bleed.
The truth is a little more complicated and a lot less messy.
Simply feeling stressed isn’t enough to trigger a nosebleed. However, if that stress leads to chronic headaches and habitual nose-picking, it can certainly play a role. Some of the medications taken to alleviate stress and anxiety may also lead to nosebleeds or make them worse, although such side effects are rare.
Myth 4: Nosebleeds are Rare
Nosebleeds are actually quite common, and you are more likely than not to have at least 1 during your lifetime.
It is often said that many as 60% of individuals will have one, and the prevalence increases with age.
The statistics vary and aren’t always accurate, as many people have nosebleeds when they are children that they promptly forget about, and unless you only include 80+ people with good memories in your study group, you’re not going to get accurate results.
However, the 60% figure is probably the closest we have to the truth and shows you just how common nosebleeds really are.
Myth 5: Frequent Nosebleeds Indicate My Child Has a Problem
Your child may have a problem with nose-picking, but the odds are low that there is a serious underlying cause. Most chronic childhood nosebleeds are the result of equally chronic nose-picking. They may also have dry nasal passages that could necessitate the use of a humidifier.
If you’re worried about your child’s health, consult with a medical professional. This is especially important if there are other symptoms present or the nosebleeds continue for more than 15 minutes at a time. In such cases, medical intervention may be required. Generally, however, most nosebleeds are harmless.