How can epistaxis (nosebleed) caused by excessive dryness be prevented?

Updated: May 08, 2020
  • Author: Quoc A Nguyen, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

If bleeding is caused by excessive dryness in the home (eg, from radiator heating), patients may benefit from humidifying the air with a cool mist vaporizer in the bedroom or, as a simpler alternative, placing a metal basin of water on top of a radiator to humidify the ambient air.

Nasal saline sprays are useful. Oxymetazoline may also be used, with fewer cardiac adverse effects. To minimize the risk of rhinitis medicamentosa and tachyphylaxis, these agents should be used for no more than 3-5 days at a time.

The physician may consider local application of bacitracin or petrolatum ointment directly to the Kiesselbach area with a cotton applicator to prevent further drying (studies recommend 2 wk).


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