The nose is lined with a moist membrane that has numerous arteries and veins running across it. These blood vessels are very close to the surface, and can therefore be easily damaged and bleed. In the nose lining just inside the nostrils, there is a large network of arteries and veins that start to warm the air as it enters the body, and keeps this exposed area as moist as possible. In very dry, windy weather, or in an air-conditioned restaurant, this area may dry out, and crack. These tiny cracks can involve a blood vessel, and bleeding results. This type of bleeding usually starts without warning, but settles quite quickly with the correct treatment.
The patient should sit upright in a chair, and the soft end part of the nose should be pinched firmly with a clean cloth held berween the fingers. This pressure is applied for five minutes without letting go. When the pressure is released, the bleeding will probably have stopped. If the bleeding continues, the pressure should be applied for two more five-minute periods.
If the problem continues after this time, medical assistance must be sought. An ice pack applied to the nose during this time may also be beneficial.
Bleeding from the back of the nose, when the blood runs down the throat, rather than out through the nostrils, is much more serious. It may be due to a wide variety of diseases including high blood pressure, ulcers, cancers and blood abnormalities. This type of bleeding always requires urgent medical artention and investigation, as it may be difficult to stop.