Epistaxis, more commonly referred to as a nosebleed, isn’t just inconvenient, it can also be scary. Fortunately, in most cases, the bleeding will stop within 10 to 20 minutes with the right interventions.
There are many factors that can contribute to nosebleeds, including the weather. We review the relationship between cold air and nosebleeds below.
What the Research Shows
A 2015 study entitled “Influence of air temperature variations on incidence of epistaxis” sought to uncover the seasonality and association of epistaxis presentations within a large urban emergency department with variations in temperature and humidity.
The researchers examined data from the hospital database that was collected from 2003 to 2012. They found that “A strong seasonality of epistaxis was observed, with a peak during winter,” and that “A weaker correlation was also found between air humidity and epistaxis but only in certain subgroups.”
How Cold Air Contributes to Nosebleeds
There are a few ways in which cold air contributes to nosebleeds:
- Cold air does not hold as much moisture as warm air
- Dry air causes the sinuses and mucus membranes to dry out
- This can damage the nose lining and cause membranes to crack
- Cold air outside causes you to turn up the heat on the air inside
- Heated indoor air can dry out the nasal passages and make the blood vessels in the nose more fragile
- A nosebleed occurs when one of these blood vessels ruptures
Preventing Winter Nosebleeds
In order to prevent winter nosebleeds, you can:
- Quit smoking
- Keep a healthy blood pressure
- Drink 48 to 64 ounces of water each day
- Run a humidifier in your home, especially while you sleep
- Avoid picking your nose or blowing it hard
- Treat winter allergies
- Moisturize the nasal passages using Vaseline®
If You Get a Nosebleed…
Follow these steps if you do get a nosebleed:
- Remain calm
- Lean your head forward
- Pinch the nostrils together just below the bony center part of your nose
- Hold constant pressure for 20 minutes
- Try a nasal spray like Afrin
To learn more about winter nosebleeds or to schedule an appointment with a nose expert, call Blue Ridge ENT today.