If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that nosebleeds are either a sign of impending death or psychic powers. You could also be thinking too much, focusing too hard, or suffering from stress.
It’s a mixed bag, but as far as Tinsel Town is concerned, we’re all walking around with crimson timebombs on our faces and these can be detonated with anything more strenuous than a smile and a friendly greeting.
In reality, most of this is nonsense.
Nosebleeds can be serious, but most of the time they can be explained away with harmless and direct causes, including nose-picking and temperature changes.
There are exceptions, but they are rare, so if you’re suffering from a nosebleed right now and are frantically searching for a worst-case scenario, just know that you probably don’t have a brain tumor and you probably can’t see into the future or move things with your mind.
When You Should Worry: The Exceptions
If any of the following are true, a nosebleed is more of a concern and may require medical intervention.
You Take Blood Thinners or Have a Bleeding Disorder
Medications like warfarin and aspirin, which thin the blood, can prolong nosebleeds and turn an otherwise harmless symptom into a very serious one. The same is true for anyone suffering from blood clotting disorders, as the body is unable to stop the bleeding as quickly or as easily as it usually would.
Nampons can help with this. They are designed to promote blood clotting and minimize blood loss. If you don’t have any to hand, and the bleeding doesn’t cease even after you apply pressure, you should consult with a medical professional. They may insist that you seek emergency care.
It Lasts for More than 15 Minutes
If the bleeding persists for more than 15 minutes and shows no signs of abating, you should seek emergency help. You may need medical intervention. Not only will they help to stop the bleeding but excessive bleeding in this manner could also indicate a more serious issue, such as a blood clotting disorder or high blood pressure.
You Were Involved in an Accident
It’s easy to dismiss nosebleeds that occur as a result of trauma. After all, if a boxer goes 12 rounds and leaves with a nosebleed, no one bats an eyelid. They do their post-fight interview, climb out of the ring, and continue with their life.
But what you don’t see is the repeat head injury assessments performed by the event doctor and the fighter’s doctors. You also don’t see them being taken to the hospital for scans and more detailed assessments.
Any time you suffer from trauma, you need to be checked over to make sure there is no lasting damage.
If you experience a fall or are involved in a car accident, and you suffer from a nosebleed, you should consult with a medical professional. This is especially true if you feel fine at the time but have a nosebleed later in the day, as it could be indicative of a more serious problem.
It Affects Your Breathing
A nosebleed that accompanies shortness of breath could be symptomatic of a serious heart problem, as well as high blood pressure. It could also indicate a panic attack or may suggest that the pooling blood is blocking your airways.
One of the most common misunderstandings with nosebleeds is that you need to hold your nose and tilt your head back, thus preventing the blood from dripping out. But this will cause it to run down your throat and potentially affect your ability to breathe.
Instead, you should pinch your nose gently, lean forward, and breathe through your mouth.