Can poor air quality cause nosebleeds?

The below article talks about poor air quality and nosebleeds, common triggers for nosebleeds, what needs to be done to improve the air quality, and some recommendations, along with some frequently asked questions about nosebleeds and what is expected. 

Can poor air quality cause nosebleeds?

Yes, poor air quality can lead to nosebleeds, as the inside of the nose is very sensitive and vulnerable to exposure from pollutants or irritants in the air, which can cause a rupture of the blood vessels inside your nose, causing a nosebleed. There are various ways to avoid nosebleeds including installing a humidifier, avoiding exposure to irritating emissions or fumes, installing an air purifier or an effective ventilation system, etc. 

If you have a nosebleed, sit upright with the head bent forward slightly, pinch the soft part across the bridge of the nose for 5 minutes at a time, keep an ice pack on the bridge of the nose, breath through the mouth, and relax. If the bleeding persists after 15 to 20 minutes, or if the individual has lost a lot of blood, it is best to visit the ER for a medical opinion. 

Nosebleeds (a.k.a. Epistaxis)

A nosebleed is caused by the bleeding from the tissues inside the nose, also known as the nasal mucus membranes, which are caused by the rupture of blood vessels inside your nose. Nosebleeds are quite common amongst kids and adults as the blood vessels in the nose are sensitive and thus vulnerable to sudden changes in the atmosphere that could cause a rupture and thus damage. 

While a nosebleed looks terrifying, it usually stops within a few minutes with the right measures. Nosebleeds are more common during the winters in extremely dry climates and can cause drying and cracking of the nasal membranes causing blood to flow out from the nose. There are various factors that induce a nosebleed and they vary in kids and adults. 

Nosebleeds can occur from either one or both nostrils depending on the severity of the damage. Bleeding that is caused due to the damage at the front of the nasal membrane usually only comes from one nostril. Whereas, injury higher into the nasal cavity could cause bleeding from both nostrils. In both cases, nosebleeds are quite often painless and may be accompanied by soreness around or inside the nose. 

Some of the common reasons for nosebleeds include:

  • Dry air 
  • Pollutants and irritants in the air 
  • Nose-picking
  • Vigorous nose-blowing 
  • Injury or trauma to the nose 
  • Surgery 
  • Colds, flu, and allergies 

Other uncommon reasons for nosebleeds include: 

  • Sinusitis
  • Bleeding disorders 
  • Certain medicines such as aspirin, a blood thinner 
  • Deviated septum
  • A foreign object inside the nose 
  • Leukemia 
  • Nasal polyps or tumors 
  • Chemical irritants 

Air Quality and Nosebleeds 

Nosebleeds are often contributed to the more obvious and visible reasons such as immediate trauma to the nose or surgery. However, one of the most common reasons for a nosebleed is the climate and the air around the person. Therefore, it is important to maintain indoor and outdoor air quality at all times to ensure good health. 

Humidity

Low humidity or dry air is one of the most common reasons for a nosebleed. The dry air causes a drying of the skin inside the nasal passage, leaving it cracked, irritated, and inflamed. This, therefore, causes the blood vessels to rupture. The mucus lining inside the nose also dries out, due to which the individual may be prone to infections as the mucus helps keep the bacteria and virus away from the respiratory systems. 

This is particularly common around winters as humidity is lower outdoors and indoor air quality drops as the moisture keeps dissipating outdoors, causing the air to dry out. The best way to ensure proper moisture levels indoors is to use a humidifier. It is best to remember that humidity levels must be kept below 55% in order to discourage the growth of mold and mildew.

Below are some excellent recommendations: 

  • Honeywell HCM – 350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier is simple in design, budget-friendly, silent, effective, and easy to clean. The device maintains perfect moisture levels throughout the day and is extremely durable in all situations and climates. It has an easy-to-fill and clean tank with other removable parts that are dishwasher friendly. It is efficient in its purpose for up to 400 sq. feet and works well for bedrooms and living rooms. 
  • Levoit LV600HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier boasts of a hybrid design that enables cool or warm mists which is suitable for multi-purpose activities and gives the opportunity and the freedom to choose the temperature of the mist. The device provides efficient and fast humidification, is perfect for large rooms up to 753 sq. feet, and has a 60-liter tank that enables the device to run up to 60 hours continuously. It has automatic humidity sensors to adjust to the needs of the room and can be customized to meet personal needs. 

The device also boasts the ability to remotely control the humidifier, automatic shut-offs, nearly-silent device operations, options for aromatherapy through aroma pads or an aroma box, absorption pads, a cleaning brush, and automatic displays that dim or switch off through the night. The best feature of the device however is that its filterless technology saves the costs of having to replace them periodically or having to clean them. 

  • Vornado EV100 provides efficient humidification with its 360-degree air intake and uses the device’s superior Vortex Action Technology to circulate humidified air throughout the room up to 300 sq. feet. The device is fitted with automatic sensors to identify the needs of the room and thus help maintain the humidity levels automatically. It is user-friendly with an innovative design that makes using, cleaning, and refilling the tank and the device easy and effective. The device has 3 fan speeds and 6 different output levels so that the user can customize their humidity requirements, and comes with a 5-year warranty. 

Allergens and Pollutants 

There are varying kinds of allergens and pollutants that can cause a nosebleed. These could be chemical particles and particulate matter from vehicular emissions, paint fumes, chemical fumes, mold spores, mildew, pollen, pet dander, cigarette smoke, dust mites, dead skin cells, etc. These pollutants are allergenic and can trigger allergic reactions, symptoms of which include nosebleeds, inflamed nasal passages, irritated mucus membranes, etc. 

Avoiding exposure to poor outdoor air quality is difficult but can be done through the following measures: 

  • Wearing protective masks
  • Avoiding long exposures to cigarette smoke, vehicular emissions, chemical fumes, etc.
  • Avoid going out or exercising vigorously when the air quality projections are poor 
  • Avoid burning wood, coal, waste, rubber, etc. 

Indoor air quality can be monitored and maintained by installing air purifiers. A good air purifier can improve life quality by stripping the air of allergens such as pollen, mold spores, smoke particles, airborne contaminants, dander, etc. However installing a good air purifier requires that it meets several criteria including being budget-friendly, child-friendly, energy-efficient, effective, and silent. Below are a few recommendations on air purifiers that could suit your needs:

  • Coway AP – 1512HH is an indoor air purifier with air quality monitoring, automatic timers and sensors, filter indicators, and an energy-efficient model. It is effective in rooms up to 361 sq. feet and has a 4 stage filtration system. It works quietly, is budget-friendly, and provides real-time indication of the air quality through LED lights amongst other interesting features. 
  • Blueair Blue Pure 211+ is 3 stage filtration indoor air purifier. Suitable for larger rooms up to 540 sq. feet and is quiet due to the advanced filters that perform at high levels of efficiency with lower noise. This purifier is ideal for large bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and offices. All filters are recyclable and need to be replaced periodically depending on usage. 
  • LEVOIT Air Purifier is an affordable large room air purifier with a True HEPA filter and a 360° air intake. It can be controlled through an app for a truly hands-free experience. With a capacity to clean up to 403 sq. feet, it gives the cleanest air possible by getting rid of dust, fur, lint, airborne contaminants, etc. It is capable of measuring air quality, providing real-time readings, and can automatically control the fan speeds to meet the needs of the room. Smart control of the purifier allows for remote control of the device and can provide alerts about the device efficiency, filter life, ability to create schedules, etc. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to stop a nose bleed?

  • Try to comfort the individual and get them to relax.
  • Sit upright with the head bent forward slightly to avoid blood running down the neck and throat.
  • Breath through the mouth.
  • Use a tissue or a damp cloth to soak up the blood.
  • Use the thumb and index finger to pinch the soft part across the bridge of the nose. Repeat this process periodically until the bleeding stops and keep pinching at least for 5 minutes at a time. 
  • Applying an ice pack to the bridge of the nose could help relieve some pressure and constrict the blood vessels 
  • Over-the-counter medicines such as nasal sprays could help stop the nosebleed. Make sure to not use this method frequently as eventually, it could be the trigger to having a nosebleed. 

How do I know when I need to go to an ER?

  • If the bleeding has not stopped even after applying pressure and following the above measure for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • If there is rapid blood loss of large volumes 
  • Difficulty with breathing 
  • If the individual has started vomiting due to the ingestion of blood 
  • If the nosebleed was triggered due to an injury or trauma to the head 
  • If you get frequent nosebleeds and you feel faint and tired
  • You notice skin discoloration all over your body 
  • If it was triggered by any new medications you have ingested 

How is a nosebleed treated?

Treating a nosebleed depends on the severity as well as the frequency at which it happens. Depending on these factors, below are some options that are commonly used: 

  • Nasal packing using sponges, tissues, foams, gauze, inflatable balloons, etc. is inserted into the nose to stop the blood flow by adding pressure into the area and to absorb the blood. 
  • Adjusting medications, especially if they are caused as a side-effect to new medications or due to the larger dosages of certain medications like a blood thinner. 
  • Surgically repairing a deviated septum or a broken nose, if this has been found to cause the frequent nosebleeds. 
  • Ligation, where the blood vessel that keeps rupturing is tied to stop the bleeding. 
  • Cauterization, where heat or silver nitrate, a chemical is applied to seal the blood vessel that has ruptured. Usually, an anesthetic is sprayed before these activities are performed

Other FAQs about Air Quality that you may be interested in.

How accurate is BreezoMeter?

How to improve the air quality in your basement?

400 AQI: Good or Bad?

References 

Cedars Sinai. (n.d.). Nosebleed (Epistaxis) in Children. Viewed on 11-26-2021. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions—pediatrics/n/nosebleed-epistaxis-in-children.html  

Cleaveland Clinic. (n.d.). Nosebleed (Epistaxis). Viewed on 11-26-2021. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/13464-nosebleed-epistaxis 

Geiler R. (2018, May 21). Why do I keep having Nosebleeds? Viewed on 11-26-2021. https://www.geiler.com/blog/why-do-i-keep-having-nosebleeds 

Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Nosebleeds. Viewed on 11-26-2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/nosebleeds/basics/causes/sym-20050914 

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