A bloody nose, which we have all experienced in our younger days, can be caused from something as simple as the air being too dry, to some other underlying symptom that is far more serious. In sports, the cause of a nosebleed is usually pretty clear.
A wayward blow from an elbow, a ball, some other piece of equipment or even the ground can literally make you see stars. A bloody nose from an encounter such as this can be serious, even fatal. Your nose could be broken or you could have a concussion. If you find that you are disoriented in any way, you should get to a doctor right away.
A good knock to the nose however, can cause quite a bit of temporary pain and a good deal of blood without doing any serious brain damage.
Bloody Nose or Broken Nose
If the nose is bleeding quite heavily, then you need to take a few moments to assess whether or not the nose is broken. While you cannot ever assume to diagnose broken bones at home, if the nose is crooked, or if the bleeding is still very heavy after five minutes or so, and especially if the injured person is having trouble breathing through the nostrils, then it is time to get yourself to a hospital.
When you make your initial efforts to stop a bloody nose, you need to make sure that you get some ice on it. Use a plastic baggie filled with crushed ice so that the bag can mold itself over the patient's nose and cheekbones.
There are a ton of old wives tales about pinching the bridge of the nose, leaning over, laying down etc. to stop a bloody nose. Forget all that. Just sit up straight and keep the ice on. Use a towel or rag to help manage the blood flow and if you can pack the nostrils then go ahead and do that. If you try to pinch the bridge on a person who may have a broken nose, they might just punch you in the nose!
How Long Should a Bloody Nose Last
Keep changing the packing and the rags. If after five minutes the blood flow has slowed down then keep the patient still and make them keep icing for another fifteen to twenty minutes.
If, after five minutes the blood flow is still very heavy, head to the emergency room as the bleeding may be coming from a break that is deep inside the nose and the nose may even have to be set. In addition, the doctor may be able to provide a prescription for some stronger painkillers than what you would be able to buy over the counter.
Head wounds are not the type of injury to be taken lightly. If you feel that your bloody nose stems from something more serious, you should trust your instincts and go to the doctor immediately.