Winter might not be as brutal in Goodyear as in other parts of the country, but temperatures can still drop into the 40s (or lower) overnight, and daytime highs can be chilly—at least by Arizona standards. Cold air coupled with low humidity is a perfect recipe for nosebleeds.
How to Treat & Prevent a Nosebleed
Nosebleeds are pretty common; most people in Arizona will experience at least one during their lifetime. They can be frightening—the sight of blood pouring from your nostrils isn’t for the faint of heart—but most nosebleeds are harmless. They can occur any time of the year but are most common during the winter months; cold air dries and irritates the nose, and when you come inside to warm up, heat from forced air and fireplaces can also do the same. Talk about a vicious cycle!
Older people are more likely to experience nosebleeds in winter because mucous membrane function begins to decrease with age. Dry winter air causes blood vessels in the nose to thin and break; individuals who take blood-thinning medications have an even greater risk, as do post-menopausal women—the decrease in estrogen results in an increase in other bodily fluids, including blood.
Other causes of nosebleeds in Goodyear include trauma, infection, allergies, high blood pressure and foreign objects in the nose. While usually harmless, frequent nosebleeds could be an indicator of an underlying disease such as hypertension, alcoholism or a tumor.
If your nose starts bleeding, the most important thing you can do is not panic. Keep in mind that most nosebleeds look much worse than they actually are. Your Goodyear ENT doctor instructs you to sit down, tilt your head forward and pinch your nostrils together using your thumb and forefinger until the bleeding stops. This should take between 5-10 minutes. Don’t tilt your head backward; this can cause blood to flow down the back of the throat, leading to irritation and coughing. Avoid blowing your nose for 15 minutes after the bleeding stops. You can also try applying ice; the cold causes blood vessels to constrict, slowing blood flow. A cotton ball with a little petroleum jelly can be placed in the nostrils if you wish. If these tricks don’t work and the bleeding continues, visit your doctor. Your bleeding vessel will likely need to be cauterized to stop the flow of blood.
To reduce your odds of a nosebleed, use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. This is especially helpful at night when you are sleeping. Placing a little petroleum jelly on either side of the septum a couple of times a day will help moisten the nasal linings. Saline sprays, gels and ointments can also help.
If you have additional questions about nosebleeds, contact an ear, nose and throat specialist in Goodyear.