A Doctor Tells Us Where To Put A Tissue To Stop A Nosebleed Fast (& It's Not Your Nose)

Nosebleeds are a regular part of childhood. Whether you were sitting in class and suddenly noticed blood dripping out of your nose or being hit by a ball on the playground, you probably have a deeply embedded memory of one of those nosebleeds. Nosebleeds are also rather common in adulthood.

In an exclusive interview with Health Map, Dr. Jason Singh, Chief Medical Officer and Physician at One Oak Medical, says that there are five main causes of nosebleeds. He uses the mnemonic "N-DRIED" to describe the causes of nosebleeds. The N stands for nasal trauma, where someone hits you in the nose with a dodgeball. D stands for dry air, and it appears twice in this mnemonic because it's the most common cause of nosebleeds.

"Dry air especially during winter months can dry out and lead to cracking of nasal mucosa which can cause the blood vessels to become more sensitive to rupturing," Singh said. Respiratory irritants such as pollen and dust can trigger nosebleeds, and infection from sinusitis could result in a bloody nose. Existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, might also make nosebleeds more likely.

While a nosebleed might have you reaching for a tissue to block the flow of blood, Singh said that's not the best way to stop a nosebleed. In his three-part hack posted on Instagram, he says to begin by putting some tissue in your mouth between your upper gum and lip.

An effective way to stop a nosebleed

Singh says placing the tissue in your mouth rather than inside the nose puts pressure on the Kiesselbach's plexus. This area provides your nasal cavity with fresh blood as it houses many blood vessels, but it's also prone to nosebleeds (via Columbia University Irving Medical Center).

The second part of Singh's technique is to tilt your head slightly forward. This prevents the blood from dripping down your throat where you could swallow it. According to MyHealth Alberta, this could upset your stomach and possibly make you vomit, which could restart your nosebleed.

Singh's third step is to pinch the cartilage just below the bony part of your nose. This puts pressure on your anterior nasal artery. Keep this pressure for 5 to 7 minutes.

You might have heard about the nosebleed remedy of putting a penny on your forehead to stop the bleeding. According to Healthgrades, this isn't an effective method to stop a nosebleed. Instead, a cold pack or a package of frozen peas on the nose can constrict the blood vessels and stop the flow of blood.

Preventing nosebleeds

Because dry winter months can cause recurring nosebleeds, Singh suggests ways to keep the nasal passages moist, such as using a humidifier or nasal saline sprays. "You can also apply a thin layer of vaseline inside the nostrils before bed to help coat the membranes from drying out," he said. If you're especially stuffy during the winter, avoid blowing your nose too hard and opt for blowing one nostril at a time.

People who play contact sports should wear protective gear to avoid nosebleeds. Picking your nose can also pick at the nasal lining and cause a nosebleed. If you know that certain pollutants cause inflammation in your nasal passages, Singh suggests avoiding these irritants as much as possible. High blood pressure and other conditions can cause a bloody nose, so be sure to manage your conditions with your health provider.

"Although most nosebleeds can be managed at home or outpatient, some do require urgent evaluation," Singh said. These include heavy bleeding that doesn't stop after 30 minutes or any head injury that could indicate a skull fracture. You should also see a doctor if you have recurring nosebleeds to rule out more serious conditions such as a nasal cavity tumor or a blood clotting condition (via Healthgrades).