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Most commonly, nosebleeds are due to smacking your nose on a tree or the ground when you part company with the bike. But some bikers get nosebleeds with the physical activity of riding. The cause is a ruptured vein inside the nose. Dry air, altitude, forceful breathing, and a deformed nasal septum predispose to spontaneous nosebleeds.

Most nosebleeds aren't serious. You could fill your water bottle with blood from a nosebleed and still not be in big trouble. So relax. If you bumped the nose, check for the signs of fracture: deformity, severe swelling, or inability to breathe through the nose.

See the doctor if:
    a nosebleed doesn't stop after 1/2 hour
    bleeding is severe (running out rather than dripping)
    there's deformity of the nose
    you can't breathe through the nose
    pain is severe

Immediate care:
If there aren't any signs the bumped nose is serious, pinch the entire soft part of the nose closed for 15 minutes. The nosebleed should stop.

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If a nosebleed doesn't stop with pinching, blow out all the blood. Now spray several times into the bleeding nostril with a nasal decongestant spray. Again hold the entire soft part of the nose shut for 15 minutes.

A cold-pack may slow the bleeding, but shouldn't interfere with pinching the nose.

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noselub1.jpg (9740 bytes) Ongoing care:
After the nosebleed stops, rest for a half hour. Leave your nose completely alone. Resist the temptation to wipe the clots out and blow the nose.

Once things settle down, put a little lubricating gel or ointment just inside the nostril.

The ointment should be applied very gently, only about 1 cm inside the nostril. Repeat twice a day for a week.

Keep the air humid. Don't blow or pick your nose. Avoid aspirin for a few days.

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Trivia:  Who is our photo model for the nosebleed instructions above?
It's little Matthew Flygare, in photos taken by Dr. Argyle over 35 years ago.
See Matt in a more glorious role in our mountain biking videos, for example Gooseberry Mesa.

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