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Nosebleeds originate in the blood vessels in the nasal mucous membranes and are usually induced by a mechanical factor. Nosebleeds don’t always have an obvious cause. You can try to stop the bleeding at home.

Nosebleed may be caused by a larger raw area in the mucous membrane or a single blood vessel, which ruptured for some reason. Usually, the bleeding originates in the front section of the septum, but it can also originate from further back. Nosebleeds do not always have any obvious cause. Common causes include the following:

  • trauma to the nose
  • blowing of the nose
  • sneezing
  • nose picking
  • having a sauna bath
  • dryness of nasal mucous membranes
  • medicines increasing the risk of bleeding, particularly acetylsalicylic acid, anti-inflammatory medicines, warfarin (Marevan)
  • certain illnesses, e.g. high blood pressure
  • atherosclerosis, i.e. calcification of veins and arteries
  • old age


The first thing to do is to calm down, even if there appears to be a lot of blood. Blow your nose to clear your nose of blood clots. After this, firmly pinch the bleeding nostril shut by pinching the side of your nose against the septum with your thumb and index finger for at least 15 minutes.

Sit leaning forward because this prevents the blood from flowing into your throat. Spit out any blood that gathers in your mouth and throat rather than swallowing it, as it may make you nauseuous. Cold helps to contract the blood vessels, so place an ice pack or bag of ice wrapped in a towel on your forehead or neck. Letting fresh air into the room also helps you feel better.

For a few days following a nosebleed, avoid intense physical activity, sneezing and hot drinks and foods. If your nose bleeds easily, do not pick your nose, avoid hot showers and blow your nose only very gently. Also spicy foods and intense physical activity may increase nosebleeds. You can use Vitamin A drops, available from a pharmacy without prescription, for dry nasal membranes. Pharmacy staff will help you select the right product, if necessary. Running a humidifier may help add moisture to dry air in your home.

When should you seek medical advice?

You should seek medical advice, if

  • bleeding does not stop with self-care within 15 minutes.
  • frequent nosebleeds disturb normal day to day life.

More information

The producers of the instruction

​​​​​Emergency care professionals have produced the instruction in collaboration with Terveyskirjasto.​


Updated  1.5.2021