SEP 06, 2017 3:58 PM PDT

Why are Noses so Prone to Bleeding?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Most of us have already experienced at least one nosebleed. In most cases, nosebleeds are caused by trauma. The location of the nose in the middle of the face and its inherent nature to stick out, makes the nose a prime target for physical injury. Furthermore, because the nose has a high density of blood vessels, bleeds from this facial feature can be intense.

Aside from trauma, nosebleeds can also be caused by nasal or sinus infections, and prolonged exposure to dry air. In children, the mucosal membrane in the nose can be broken by nose-picking or by a foreign object (Legos, for example). In other cases, nosebleeds can be caused by medication (for example, blood thinners), or the event can indicate an underlying disorder.

Fortunately, most nosebleeds resolve with some at-home treatments. This involves pinching the nose to staunch the bleed while breathing through the mouth. Importantly, lean forward while sitting upright so that blood doesn't drain into the sinus and throat. Pressure and ice will typically stop the bleed in 5 to 20 minutes. However, if the bleeding goes on for longer, you may need a visit to the ER.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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