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Epistaxis is a nosebleed. A nosebleed occurs when the blood vessels near the surface of the nasal cavity are injured or damaged.



  • Nasal sprays: Vasoconstrictor nasal spray is a medicine that helps make nasal blood vessels narrower. This limits the blood flow and stops the bleeding. This medicine also decreases the swelling inside your nose and helps you breathe easier. You may also be directed to use saline or other nasal sprays to add moisture to your nose.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or otolaryngologist within 2 to 3 days or as directed:

Any packing in your nose should be removed within 2 to 3 days. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

First aid:

  • Sit up and lean forward: This will help prevent you from swallowing blood. Spit blood and saliva into a bowl.
  • Apply pressure to your nose: Use 2 fingers to pinch your nose shut for 10 minutes. This will help stop the bleeding. Breathe through your mouth.

  • Apply ice: Use a cold pack or put crushed ice in a bag, cover with a towel, and place on the bridge of your nose.
  • Nasal packing: Pack your nose with a cotton ball, tissue, tampon, or gauze bandage to stop the bleeding.

Prevent epistaxis:

  • Avoid nose picking and blowing your nose too hard: You can irritate or damage your nose if you pick it. Blowing your nose too hard may cause the bleeding to start again.
  • Avoid irritants: Substances that can irritate your nose should be avoided. These include tobacco smoke and chemical sprays such as cleaners that contain ammonia.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier in your home: This will add the moisture to the air and help keep your nose moist.
  • Put a small amount of petroleum jelly inside your nostrils: You may apply a small amount of petroleum jelly if you do not have a nasal packing. This will help keep your nose from drying out or getting irritated. Do not put anything else inside your nose unless your primary healthcare provider tells you to do so.

Contact your primary healthcare provider or otolaryngologist if:

  • You have a fever and are vomiting.
  • You have pain in and around your nose that is getting worse even after you take pain medicines.
  • Your nasal pack is loose.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your nasal packing is soaked with blood.
  • Your nose is still bleeding after 20 minutes, even after you pinch it.
  • You have a foul-smelling discharge coming out of your nose.
  • You feel so weak and dizzy that you have trouble standing up.
  • You have trouble breathing or talking.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Epistaxis (Discharge Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes