If you get hit hard in the nose, there’s a good chance you will end up with a nosebleed. No mystery there. Most nosebleeds occur for no apparent reason, though. Children are especially susceptible. Chronic or severe nosebleeds require medical attention to rule out any serious underlying medical condition. There are effective over-the-counter medications. If, on the other hand, a nosebleed happens at work or at night when it is inconvenient to get to a pharmacy, a home remedy may be just the ticket.
My daughter has bad nosebleeds. Do you have any herbal or home remedy suggestions?
You may want to start in the pharmacy. There are three products to consider: Nosebleed QR (www.biolife.com), NasalCEASE (www.nasalcease.com), and Seal-On (www.seal-on.com). As for home remedies, our favorite would be to put a ring of cold keys down the back of her neck under her shirt. We cannot explain why this might work, but we have heard from many readers that it is amazingly effective. One reader offered this: “When I was a little girl in rural North Carolina, my daddy knew how to stop nosebleeds when someone in the family had one. He put a bunch of car keys down our backs. The nosebleed stopped pronto.”
When I was a kid, I got very bad nosebleeds. If nothing else worked, my mother would get out her keys and drop them down the back of my neck. I wish I knew why it worked so well.
We have heard from many people who have had success stopping nosebleeds with keys or a cold butter knife against the back of the neck. We don’t know why this trick works, but one reader offered the following from his experience as a medic doing water rescue: “The keys work because of the mammalian dive reflex. Cold hits the nerves in the neck, causing the blood vessels to constrict. You might notice your pulse slowing too. The dive reflex is why cold-water drowning victims are not usually pronounced dead until they are ‘warm and dead.’ Cold water only in the face and head area shunts blood to the organs and away from the skin and slows the metabolism for survival. The vital signs are often too weak to detect.” This hypothesis sounds plausible to us. We can’t offer a better one.
I had nosebleeds from infancy to late puberty. An uncle gave my mother this trick. He served in the army in WWI, so it goes way back. Take some brown paper from a shopping bag, fold it into a double strip about an inch and a half long by one-quarter inch, and place it in the front of the mouth as far up as you can, so it applies pressure above the jawbone and just under the nose. It will stop a torrent in a minute or so. It is quicker than cold keys on the back of the neck.
We’ve heard of this remedy, but we cannot explain how it would work, any more than we can explain how keys dropped down the back of the neck would stop a nosebleed.
Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic