Caring for a Nosebleed Make an Appointment Ask a Question Search Conditions When you get a nosebleed (epistaxis), the blood vessels in the nose break, causing blood to come out of one or both nostrils. There are many possible causes of nosebleeds. Once a nosebleed has been stopped, it may take a week for the blood vessels in the nose to heal completely. Follow these important steps to prevent and treat a nosebleed. Preventing another bloody nose Avoid blowing your nose for at least two days. Once two days have passed, blow very gently. Avoid rubbing or picking your nose. Keep your mouth open if you sneeze. This way, the force of sneeze goes through your mouth, not your nose. Sleep with your head elevated on at least two pillows Avoid lifting heavy objects, bending over or straining when having a bowel movement. Avoid medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen. Common examples include Advil® and Motrin®. Read labels to make sure the combination doesn’t contain aspirin. Use Tylenol® for pain. If a nosebleed starts again If bleeding starts again, place cotton soaked in Afrin® (oxymetazaline) in the nostril that is bleeding. Afrin is a nasal decongestant that helps constrict blood vessels. If you don’t have Afrin, squeeze the nostrils tightly for 10 minutes. If this doesn’t help, squeeze the nostrils for at least five more minutes. Sit up and lean forward while squeezing your nostrils. You may want to have a basin below you nose and mouth for the blood to drip into. This will keep you from swallowing the blood. You can also measure how much blood you actually lose. If the bleeding continues, notify your doctor or visit the nearest emergency room. The number at National Jewish Health is 303.388.1355. Choose option 4.