What is Epistaxis?
Epistaxis refers to nosebleed, a condition where the blood comes from the tissue lining the inside of the nostrils. It’s a fairly common condition, especially in places with dry climates and they occur more often during winters. There is a high risk of nosebleeds among children between the ages of 2 and 10 and adults between the ages of 50 and 80. Doctors are unable to explain why these nosebleeds are most likely to occur in the morning hours.
What are its causes and concerns?
Nosebleeds can be classified as follows:
- Anterior nosebleeds – the blood comes from the nasal septum, made up of tiny blood vessels, all joining together in the septum area called the Kiesselbach Plexus.
- Posterior nosebleeds – the blood comes from an artery in the back of the nose. This condition is more common among the elderly.
Anterior nosebleeds are much more common as compared to posterior nosebleeds. So much so that almost 90% of all nosebleeds are anterior nosebleeds. While most cases of anterior nose bleeding can be treated at home, posterior nosebleeds require hospitalization.
Epistaxis, in general, is not considered a very serious condition, but it can be life-threatening in some cases. Some typical causes of Epistaxis are:
- Sinus infections
- Nasal passage infections (virus, bacterial or fungi)
- Deviated nasal septum (nasal septum is displaced to one side)
- Excessive or hard nose blowing
- Foreign object in the nose (when children put things in their noses)
- Dry nostril passages
- Recent nasal surgery (plastic or other surgery)
- Broken nose
- Blunt force trauma on the face (car accident, being hit with a baseball, trauma)
- Secondary to a condition that has not been diagnosed yet
- High blood pressure
- Some prescription medications (Coumadin, aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications)
- Cocaine use
What are its symptoms?
Frequent nosebleeds might indicate underlying problems, which is why you should consider seeing a nose and throat specialist if you observe this in yourself or your child.
Following are some accompanying symptoms you should watch out for:
- Stuffy nose and coloured drainage
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Persistent dry nose
- Inability to smell and loss of taste
- Mouth breathing, especially at night
- Difficult breathing through the nose
- Frequent nasal infections
What are the solutions and treatment options?
Most cases of Epistaxis can be treated at home. What usually complicates things is that many people (children and even some adults) start panicking when a nosebleed occurs. Panic triggers the “fight or flight” response in us, which causes the adrenaline to start pumping. This may cause the nose to bleed even more or to bleed for longer. Therefore, it is crucial to keep people calm in the event of a nosebleed. Typically, nosebleeds should not last longer than 10 to 15 minutes, but they can sometimes last for as long as 30 minutes. If the nose keeps bleeding for more than 30 minutes, medical attention is required.
Some ways in which we can care for nosebleeds at home are:
- Sitting up or standing up (do not lie down during a nosebleed)
- Leaning forward slightly, so the blood does not drain down the back of the throat
- If you have a nasal spray, squirt a few drops in the nostril that is bleeding
- Pinching the soft spot on the bridge of the nose using your index finger and thumb
If you or your child are suffering from a serious case of Epistaxis, reach out to us! Our nose and throat specialists will evaluate your case and help you find relief with your symptoms.
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