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First Aid - Treating Nosebleeds

First Aid - Treating Nosebleeds According to UK Guidance.

Picture of a blood dripping from nose (fake blood)
Nosebleed (fake blood)


Nosebleeds, or epistaxis, can be an alarming experience for anyone. While most nosebleeds are not typically a cause for concern, it is crucial to respond promptly and correctly to prevent excessive bleeding and ensure the well-being of the affected individual. In this blog post, we will explore the first aid treatment recommendations for managing nosebleeds effectively.

Understanding Nosebleeds:

Nosebleeds can occur spontaneously or as a result of trauma or other underlying medical conditions. The nose contains a rich network of blood vessels that are susceptible to irritation and injury, leading to bleeding. Common causes include dry air, nose picking, forceful blowing of the nose, allergies, high blood pressure, and certain medications.

First Aid Guidance for Treating Nosebleeds:

The following steps should be taken as the first-line treatment:

1. Sit and lean forward:

When experiencing a nosebleed, it is essential to sit down and lean slightly forward. This position prevents blood from flowing into the throat and reduces the risk of swallowing blood. Leaning forward also helps to avoid blood flowing back into the sinuses.

2. Pinch the nose:

Gently pinching the soft part of the nose, just below the bridge, is an effective way to control a nosebleed. This action helps to compress the blood vessels, slowing down the bleeding. Encourage the affected individual to breathe through their mouth while doing this.

3. Maintain the pinch for at least 10 minutes:

It is crucial to maintain pressure on the nose for at least 10 minutes continuously. This duration allows sufficient time for the blood vessels to constrict and stop bleeding. Using a timer or watching the clock can help ensure the appropriate duration.

4. Avoid tilting the head back:

Contrary to popular belief, tilting the head back should be avoided. Doing so can cause blood to flow down the throat, leading to potential complications like nausea, choking, or aspiration. Keeping the head slightly forward prevents these issues.

5. Apply a cold compress:

Placing a cold compress, such as an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth, on the bridge of the nose can help constrict blood vessels and reduce bleeding. However, the compress should not be placed directly on the skin to prevent frostbite.

A casualty with a nosebleed being given First Aid
First Aid - Nosebleed

When to Seek Medical Assistance:

While most nosebleeds can be managed with the aforementioned first-aid measures, some cases may require medical attention. Seek medical assistance if:

- The bleeding does not stop after 30 minutes of continuous pressure.

- The nosebleed is a result of an injury to the head or face.

- The nosebleed is accompanied by severe facial pain or swelling.

- There is a history of frequent nosebleeds or bleeding disorders.

- The individual is taking blood-thinning or 'anti-coagulant' medications.

Preventing Future Nosebleeds:

To minimise the occurrence of nosebleeds, the following preventive measures can be helpful:

- Keeping the nasal passages moist by using a saline nasal spray or applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly inside the nostrils.

- Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air, especially during dry weather or in heated environments.

- Avoiding nasal irritants such as smoke, strong chemicals, and excessive nose blowing.

- Keeping fingernails short to reduce the risk of accidental nose picking.


Nosebleeds can be distressing, but by following the guidance for initial treatment, you can effectively manage the situation. Remember to sit, lean forward, pinch the nose, and maintain pressure for at least 10 minutes. Avoid tilting.

Interested in learning more? You can book onto one of our First Aid courses by emailing

Kind regards,

Slanjava Learning

-slàinte mhath-

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