While some nosebleeds have serious causes, the vast majority are merely irritating rather than harmful. As you probably already know, many can be stopped by gently pinching the top part of your nose and titling your head slightly forward. However, there are also other smart ways to treat nosebleeds. If you have already consulted with your doctor and have been reassured that you need not worry about your nosebleeds, then you might want to try one of these ten home remedies—some can stop a bleed in its tracks, while others reduce the risk of future incidents.
1. Apply an ice pack
If you’re having a nose bleed, applying an ice pack will constrict the blood vessels in the area, helping to slow (and then stop) the bleeding. For those who don’t have a premade ice pack, it’s just as effective to put ice cubes in a Ziploc bag and then wrap the bag in a towel. As a bonus, ice also reduces inflammation, so this treatment is particularly useful if your nosebleed is a result of an injury. Experts advise holding the pack against the cheeks as well as the nose.
2. Take vitamin C supplements
You might benefit from up to 1,200 milligrams of vitamin C per day if you suffer from chronic nosebleeds. Vitamin C is one of the building blocks of collagen, which is the substance responsible for the elasticity in your connective tissues and helps to give your nostrils a protective lining. Of course, you can also boost your vitamin C levels by eating plenty of oranges, bell peppers and broccoli.
3. Avoid touching inside your nose
Most nosebleeds are anterior nosebleeds, which means that the bleeding comes from the lower septum. The lower septum is the wall of tissue between the two channels inside your nose, and it contains blood vessels that are extremely easily irritated and damaged. Consequently, avoiding picking at your nose is one of the smartest ways to reduce your chances of bleeding.
4. Ingest cayenne
Some people swear by a cayenne pepper drink as a remedy for nose bleeds, as it allegedly helps to reduce blood pressure in a wounded area and promotes faster clotting time. While the jury is out on whether this remedy stands up to scrutiny, there’s little harming in trying this type of cayenne drink when your nose is bleeding. Just add 1tsp to a cup of hot water, and drink it when the water cools slightly.
5. Stay hydrated
In many cases, nosebleeds result from dryness inside the nostrils. This is an especially salient concern during winter, when air in the home gets dryer because of heater use. You can combat this common cause of nosebleeds by aiming to drink about 8 glasses of water a day, and by investing in a good humidifier that keeps some moisture in the air. Further, you should consider reducing the room temperature at night, so that your nose doesn’t dry out while you sleep. If you’re wondering whether you’re well hydrated, check the color of your urine—it should be pale, not dark.
6. Apply a saline water solution
You can feel free to make an exception to the rule about touching the inside of your nose when you’re putting a few drops of saline solution into your nostrils. This treatment helps to keep the area from drying out, reducing the chances of bleeding or irritation. Simply drop a pinch of salt into half a cup of freshly boiled water, and stir. When it cools, you can touch it onto the inner lining of the nostrils 2-3 times a day to keep them moisturized. Similar products are also available over the counter.
7. Increase zinc intake
Since adequate zinc consumption plays a key role in keeping your blood vessels in good condition, increasing your intake may help to prevent future nosebleeds. Particularly rich sources of zinc include brown bread, brown rice, and popcorn.
8. Use white vinegar
White vinegar is another useful remedy if your nose is actively bleeding, as vinegar is thought to help seal blood vessel walls. Simply apply the vinegar to a cotton ball, and place the cotton ball in the problematic nostril. However, those with highly sensitive skin may find this remedy stings too much,
9. Inhale onion vapors
Onions release fumes that are said to naturally clot blood around a wounded area. So, when your nose is bleeding, you can try placing a thick slice of freshly cut onion under your nose. Take deep breaths, and see whether the bleeding stops more quickly than usual.
10. Consume more vitamin K
Vitamin K is required for proper blood clotting—without it, your nosebleeds may last longer, or may occur with very little provocation. Luckily, it’s easy to improve your vitamin K intake simply by making a few dietary adjustments. Some of the best good sources include leafy greens like kale and spinach, which can be tossed into a salad or blended into a green smoothie.
Finally, be sure to return to your doctor for more advice if your nose bleeds for more than 20 minutes, or if you find your nose starts bleeding more than 4 times a week. While it should be emphasized that most nosebleeds have utterly benign causes, there is always the possibility of growths or bleeding disorders. In addition, excessive nosebleeds can eventually lead to iron deficiency anemia, causing lethargy and paleness.