Here we are once more, in the cold of winter, and along with that comes many health problems. Of course at this time of year colds and the flu are serious concerns, but there are more minor problems that many suffer as well. Among these problems are nosebleeds caused by dry, cold air.
Why It Happens
Since cold air does not hold as much moisture as warm, this can cause sinuses and mucous membranes to dry out, resulting in damage to the nose lining. This damage can cause normally moist membranes to crack.
The nose has many blood vessels running through it and cracked membranes can lead to small ruptures. These ruptures are the cause of frequent nosebleeds in the winter. They are made worse by heating in the home, which further dries the air as it keeps us cozy and warm.
Who Is at Risk
Just about anyone who is exposed to cold and dry air for any length of time is at risk for developing nosebleeds. Still, there are certain groups who show a higher risk for the problem. The two groups most likely do develop frequent bloody noses are very young children and adults over the age of fifty.
Kids develop issues in the nostrils, frankly, because they tend to stick their fingers and other objects up there, which damages the nasal lining. Adults over fifty tend towards medical conditions such as high blood pressure, or anti-clotting medications which increase the tendency towards bleeding.
A Common Problem
It may be surprising just how many people are prone to bloody noses. Some studies estimate that over sixty percent of the population will experience this problem at some point during their life, and older people during the winter months are most at risk.
Generally, treatment is not needed for nosebleeds. Simply pinching the nose and leaning forward for a few minutes will alleviate the problem and stop the bleeding. Typically, a normal nosebleed will stop within ten minutes of applying pressure.
There are, however, certain patients who have chronic problems requiring medical attention. If the nosebleed does not stop within 30 minutes of pressure being applied you should seek medical attention. If nosebleeds are very frequent and a doctor’s efforts to treat the situation fail, there could be an underlying medical problem.
Some of the possible conditions that can result in nosebleeds are:
- Blood-thinning medications
- Bleeding disorders such as hemophilia
- Chronic sinus infections
There are some basic steps you can take to prevent nosebleeds before they even begin. Running a humidifier in the home can help to keep your mucous membranes moist and prevent problems. Stay hydrated; drinking plenty of fluids not only helps nosebleeds, it is a good idea for general health.
Try over-the-counter nasal saline sprays if your nose is consistently dry. Avoid digging at your nose, no matter how uncomfortable the dryness feels. This can only cause more damage and increase the potential for bleeds.
Do you have frequent nosebleeds? What have you found works? Leave us a comment and discuss!