Nose injuries fall into two categories; nosebleeds and broken noses.


There are two types of nosebleeds:

  • Anterior nosebleeds are the most common types. The bleeding concerns the front part of the nose, usually the result of dried membranes. Blood usually comes out of only one nostril.
  • Posterior nosebleeds concern the back part of the nose, usually behind the soft tissue. Posterior nosebleeds have massive bleeding backwards into the mouth or down the back of the throat. This type of nosebleed is very serious and requires medical attention.

General Rules:

  • Never allow the victim to tilt the head backwards, which is what most parents tell kids to do. This causes blood to go down the back of the throat, and can cause choking, nausea and vomiting.
  • Never probe the nose with cotton-tipped swabs.
  • If a spinal injury is suspected, do not move the head or neck.

How to treat a nosebleed:

  • Place the victim in a seated position.
  • Have the victim tilt their head slightly forward.
  • Pinch, or have the victim pinch, the nostrils closed by placing the thumb and fingers around all of the soft tissue. If it is not too uncomfortable, while pinching push the soft tissue back towards the skull.
  • After five minutes, if the bleeding persists, have the victim blow their nose gently to release irregular clots. This will minimize sneezing. You can also spray a decongestant (Afrin or Neo-Synephrin) into the nostrils, then return to the pinching technique.
  • If the nosebleed is caused by a blow to the nose, apply an icepack to the nose and cheeks.
  • If you suspect a broken nose, the victim has high blood pressure, is taking anti-coagulants or aspirin, or you suspect a posterior nosebleed, seek medical attention.

Broken Nose:

To treat a broken nose, perform the steps above to help control the bleeding. Use an icepack over the nose and cheeks, then seek medical attention. Never attempt to straighten a broken nose, as it can cause renewed bleeding or tear tissue to start a posterior nosebleed.

First Aid

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