Nosebleeds most commonly occur from trauma to the nose, like catching an elbow during a pickup basketball game, or self-inflicted picking (seriously), or even a Van Damme roundhouse kick to the grill (not so seriously). The medical term for that type of nosebleeds is anterior epistaxis, which means the blood vessels at the front of the nasal septum were damaged. (Fun fact: When the blood comes from the back of the nose it’s called a posterior nosebleed; they’re less common and are more likely to occur when you’re an old geezer.) Other factors like fluctuating humidity or cold or dry climates may also cause nosebleeds.
Point is, most bloody noses are more of an annoyance than a cause for concern. So you should learn how to properly stop a bloody nose to salvage your favorite T-shirt from acquiring a disgusting red stain.
Tilting your head back and jamming tissues into your nose will force blood down your throat (and make you look like a complete ass). And not only does blood taste bad — it’s filled with iron and, well, it’s blood for crying out loud — it can block your airway or flow into the stomach. And a pool of blood in the gut might make you vomit. Sitting upright with a slight forward lean will reduce pressure on the veins in your nose.
PINCH BELOW THE BRIDGE
Grip the soft tissue of your nose with your thumb and index fingers to send pressure to the nasal septum. Keep a handle on it for five to 10 minutes and breathe through your mouth.
LEAVE YOUR NOSE ALONE
Keeping your head higher than your heart and leaving the nose alone for a few hours — no picking or blowing — should allow the bleeding to taper off. If it doesn’t and the bleeding continues for more than 20 minutes, see a doctor.
When the bleeding stops, gently apply an icepack or that bag of frozen vegetables you’ll never eat to your nose for five to 10 minutes. This should make the blood vessels compress and reduce the swelling.