A nose bleed is when blood flows from one or both nostrils. It’s
normally caused by the tiny blood vessels inside the nostrils being
Common causes of nose bleeds include a blow to the nose,
sneezing, picking or blowing the nose, and high blood pressure.
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What to look for
Most nose bleeds are minor and only last a few minutes, but they
can be dangerous if someone loses a lot of blood.
If someone has had a blow to the head, the blood may appear thin
and watery. This could mean that their skull is fractured and fluid
is leaking from around the brain. If that happens, it is very
serious and you should call 999 or 112 for emergency medical help.
See advice for head injuries.
What to do
If someone is having a nose bleed, your priority is to control
the bleeding and keep their airway open.
Get them to sit down (not lie down) as keeping the nose above
the heart will reduce bleeding.
Get them to lean forward (not backwards), to make sure the blood
drains out through their nose, rather than down their throat which
could block their airway.
Ask them to breathe through their mouth and pinch the soft part
of the nose, taking a brief pause every ten minutes, until the
Encourage them not to speak, swallow, cough, spit or sniff
because this may break blood clots that may have started to form in
If the bleeding is severe, or if it lasts more than 30 minutes,
call 999 or 112 for medical help.