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Tips For Stopping A Bloody Nose

Most people have experienced a bloody nose. This time of year they are particularly common with allergy season. The nose gets irritated and easily bleeds from the picking and rubbing that ensues. Bloody noses are particularly common in Utah where the air is so dry.

There is a surprising amount of misinformation out there on how to handle bloody noses. Here are the quick facts:

How to stop a bloody nose:

  1. Firmly pinch the end of the nose, so the nose is completely closed. The idea is to apply pressure to the area that is bleeding so the body can make a clot. Pinching the bridge of the nose is just an old wives tale. (That would be like applying pressure in your armpit to get a cut on the forearm to stop bleeding. It’s better to apply the pressure to the cut itself).
  2. Sit straight up or slightly forward. You do not want the blood to drain down the throat. Better to spit out any blood than to swallow it. Blood in the stomach is nauseating. The last thing you need is vomiting to compound the situation.
  3. If the bleeding is profuse and won’t stop, apply something cold to the nose (just above where you are holding it closed). This will constrict the blood vessels and help slow the bleeding. An ice pack or bag of frozen peas works beautifully.
  4. Hold the nose firmly for a long time. When you stop holding your nose (to check to see if the bleeding stopped), and discover you’re still bleeding, then hold your nose twice as long the next time before checking again. For example, if you held your nose for 5 minutes but it continues to bleed, then hold it 10 minutes the next time before checking again.
  5. Don’t shove anything up the nose to create the clot (like a wad of toilet paper). Yes, it will act like a dam and temporarily stop it, but when you pull it out, you will likely pull out the clot and the nose will start bleeding again.
  6. Don’t blow the nose right after having had a bloody nose. Blowing will also disrupt the clot and start the bleeding again.

How to prevent a bloody nose:

  1. Don’t pick the nose. I know it sounds elementary, but nose picking is the number one reason kids get bloody noses.
  2. Run a humidifier in the room at night. Dried out nasal passages bleed easily.
  3. Treat nasal allergies.
  4. Lastly, apply a large glob of Vaseline with a Q-tip to the inside of the nose (just barely up the nose all around and on that first fleshy bump). I know it sounds disgusting, but it really works, especially if your child is having recurrent bloody noses out of the same side. Usually, there is a friable blood vessel that just needs a little TLC to get it to heal up.

The next time you or your child experiences a bloody nose, you’ll be able to handle it like an expert. Good luck!

Allergy Shots and Breastfeeding: Is it Safe?

It is hard to know what medications are safe to take when pregnant and breastfeeding. Ask anyone who has ever suffered from serious allergies and you know how miserable they can be without his or her allergy medications. The good news is that most allergy medications are safe to take. As for specific information about allergy shots, it appears (by the published literature) that they are generally safe. Most of my investigating into the matter has revealed that the injected allergens appear not to be transmitted into the breast milk. Consequently, there should be little risk to your baby regardless of when the shots are given or when the baby is fed.

When I did a quick search on The American Academy of Pediatrics published site, I could not find anything that would show a contraindication to breastfeeding and allergy shots. It is generally believed that shots should NOT be initiated for the first time when pregnant or breastfeeding (due to the risk of anaphylaxis and subsequent risk to the fetus), but are safe to continue.

As an aside, the “D” part of many allergy medications (e.g., Zyrtec-D, Claritin-D) is usually pseudoephedrine. This medication should NOT be used while breastfeeding because it will quickly dry up a woman’s milk supply.