May 01, 2008

May Day? Nah, Better!

[By Crabby]

Don't Leave Home Without It.

A few days ago, we were talking about feeling uncool while exercising. In the comments section, reader "One Sweet Shannon" told a funny tale about being locked out of her car after a workout when she had major nosebleed--with nary a Kleenex to stem the tide.

Being an unmedicated allergy sufferer, and one who blows her nose 47,000 times a day frequently, I get nosebleeds too. I could totally relate.

Then, in a Crazy Coincidence, one of my favorite health news blogs, Healthbolt, ran a post on nosebleeds! This made me realize that Cranky Fitness has never addressed this important health concern.

Since I don't really know much about May Day, except that it seems to involve Workers and Working, rather than Slackers and Slacking, I thought we could replace it with a different sort of celebration. So I'm going to officially declare May 1st "Nosebleed Day" at Cranky Fitness!

What fun we'll have. Aren't you all excited?

If I had the money to commission Official Nosebleed T-shirts, you can imagine how cute they'd be:

So, Aren't Nosebleeds Fun?

Anyone else get them? My personal triggers: high altitude, dry weather, frequent nose-blowing, and wearing a crisp clean light-colored shirt or sweater, especially if I've just paid a fortune to have it dry cleaned. Primary aggravator: fish oil capsules, which I suspect thin my blood--which is normally a good thing! But when my thin blood is pouring out of my nose and won't clot? Not so good.

In my twenties, I went to a Nose guy (he did Ears and Throats and Wallets too) and asked if there was anything he could do, since it was the same spot over and over that kept bursting. (Still is). I'd heard of people getting their leaky vessels cauterized, which, while sounding unpleasant, seemed a hopeful permanent solution.

Alas, he didn't think this was a good option. Instead he vacuumed out my nose with a teeny tiny vacuum (not a job I'd want, thank you very much) and he told me I should drink a glass of warm salt water every day. Um, through my nose.

I actually made it a couple of days, but, well, eventually I decided I'd rather just bleed.

Nosebleed Fun Facts!
(Some of these are from this handy nosebleed resource, and some are from Healthbolt.)
  • A nosebleeds is also known as "Epistaxis," which sounds much more dignified, don't you think?
  • If you get one, you should tip your head slightly forward, not back. Then you can pinch your nose closed for ten minutes (do remember to breathe through your mouth, however, or you'll have worse problems than a nosebleed). The "meaty party of your nose on the sides just below your bridge" is best. However, one Healthbolt commenter pointed out he got better results by allowing a little air to pass through, so that the blood is better able to clot. Sounds reasonable.
  • See a doctor if the nosebleed is extremely heavy, if the bleeding will not stop after twenty minutes, if you have nosebleeds all the time, or if you've been bonked on the head and that's what's causing the nosebleed.
  • Men get more nosebleeds than women.
  • Doing cocaine is not a smart idea if you are prone to nosebleeds.
  • Self-care prevention ideas include using a humidifier, sticking petroleum jelly up your nose, and using saline nasal spray or an antibiotic cream.
  • If you have a nosebleed, you're supposed to avoid "vigorous exercise, nose blowing, hot, spicy foods, hot beverages, and any type of straining for a few days to prevent additional bleeding."
Wow, was that fun or what!

Anyone else get nosebleeds or have allergies or have anything interesting to report on, whether nose-related or not?


  1. I never had allergies until we moved to the land of Big Hats & BIGGER HAIR.

    While I do get the runny nose and eyes (no nosebleeds THANK GOODNESS. My Renaissance Man? All the time. it gets colorful up in herre) I MORE become (no disrespect intended) CRABBY.

    or at least thats what everyone here in the land of BH&BH blames it on---which I kinda enjoy.

    it's a ready made excuse for being grumpy.

    Ill take one tee in an XL for my husband to sleep in---he's ruined enough others!


  2. I just think it's good that we're sensitive to something (meaning, we don't like blood, can't get used to it).

  3. My 21-year-old gets bad nosebleeds in the winter. We didn't realize it was the dryness until he moved into his own apartment in January. He has electrical heat (very dry) and in the morning, when he took his shower, the combination of breathing dry air all night and the humidity of the shower would set off yet another nosebleed.

    Luckily for him, the solution was mom (ME!) buying him a humidifier. He would humidify his room for an hour before going to sleep and the nose bleeds stopped.

  4. My allergies are TERRIBLE and they are driving me INSANE!!! On any given day, it's a tough choice between sneezing like a crazy woman or being totally drugged out. I can't decide which is worse.

    Sometimes the neti pot helps and I highly recommend it to allergy sufferers.

  5. I had a spate of nosebleeds in the early 1980s. Some came on in the middle of the night irrespective of the humidity, while others were caused by dryness I think. I was working in a brand new building at the time and I suspect part of the cause was the building. Said nosebleeds lasted up to 20 minutes sometimes although in those case the bleeding was light. I usually had a chocolate bar afterward as this sort of thing is tough on one's blood sugar. Or so I claim.

  6. No nosebleeds, but before I found the right allergy medicine combo, I used to get rapid-fire non-stop sneezing. It was so bad I would actually sneeze myself into whiplash (visualize that!). Ow.

  7. I've treated some nosebleeds in the ER. They can be challenging at times. I try to never make the cure worse than the disease :-)

    Dr. J

  8. I'm not a bleeder, thankfully. But my little brother gets them ALL the time. He actually did have his nose cauterized a few times. It looked like one of those cartoons where Wil E. Coyote sticks a stick of dynamite up his nose and it explodes leaves black scorch marks down his face.

    For reals. Be glad you didn't cauterize. Not to mention it didn't stop his bleeds.

    PS> Thanks for the bloody pic. *Shiver*

  9. The Bag Lady has had her share of nosebleeds, but counteracts them with saline nasal spray. It definitely helps when the weather is dry.

  10. Does that mean I need to stop doing cocaine?

  11. My dad had the cauterizing, and, I swear, they used a YARD of gauze to pack his nose afterward. Not because his nose is huge (it's normal-sized), but because more gauze = more pressure against the healing wound. He said it hurt worse than breaking his collarbone. It looked it, too.

  12. I'm thankful I've never had a nosebleed (I hope I didn't just jinx myself)! It sounds horrible. Especially given the cost of nice clothing nowadays, I wouldn't relish the idea of getting blood all over it.

    I had allergies one summer out in St Louis because the air quality was so bad. I was serving tables and sneezing and coughing all over the place. I'm sure the customers didn't appreciate me until I got medicated.

  13. Since losing ALLmy hair to chemotherapy including nose hairs, I have nothing to keep out the flying allergens (or keep in the blood).

    Like Scrumpy mentioned, I use a neti pot with warm salt water and that helps. But when my nose hairs grow back in, I'm never trimming them again. I don't care if they need braiding.

  14. I've been getting progressively more nosebleeds in the past few months. The most recent disastrous nosebleed adventure was when I was out for an early morning run... there I am, ploughing down the street when the blood starts streaming down my face. I luckily had a kleenex in my pocket so I held it to my face as I continued to jog down these heavily-trafficked streets (what? slow down to a walk and do something about the nosebleed? now that's just far too sensible an option!).

    I enjoy the t-shirt:)

  15. I don't get nosebleeds (just that one time I got kicked in the face in the summercamp pool), but I have terrible allergy-related nose stuffiness. The two things that work for me: Rhinocort (prescription nose spray, which is probs a TERRIBLE idea if you get nose bleeds, and dries me out enough that I have to do the vaseline-in-my-nostrils thing every night) and a neti pot (wherein you pour salt water in one nostril and it comes out the other, much less painfully and more refreshingly than you'd think).

  16. This post cracked me up! I'm so glad I was introduced to your blog.

    Anyhoo, I am a fellow nosebleed-sufferer, and despite the constant stream of saline through my nose, it still bleeds.

    Maybe I should get 7 t-shirts: one for each day of the week! Hee.

  17. Hey Crabby, this is one of your more colorful posts! ;)

    My ex used to get nosebleeds, but he was an inveterate picker, which didn't help. He also was on blood thinners, which also didn't help. Then he had several cauterizations in the ER, which also did not help. It got really wearing for him.

    I had a serious one when I ran full tilt into the leg of a swingset in a schoolyard in 3rd grade (I was looking behind me), knocked myself out, woke up with a nose bleed, ran home to my stepmother who just said to stick kleenex up it. Even in 3rd grade, I knew that hitting one's head and subsequently having a nosebleed was not good.

    I sure am sorry for you Crabby, and everyone else suffering with these, because knowing that your nose can "let go" at the worst times on the best clothes can't be at all fun, plus wondering if it has really stopped. Can people still get vitamin K shots? My show jumper used to get those, because he'd get nosebleeds in the summer when it was hot, during competiton. A horse's nosebleed can be really hard to treat!

    On allergies, I have friends who swear by their neti pots. I fortunately have either outgrown or out run my allergens by moving; I used to sneeze myself dizzy and would just give up and let my nose run into the sink for ten minutes, it would drip twice as fast as the leaky faucet! And OTC allergy meds would put me in a coma. It would feel like I had an elephant on my chest, and I could hear stuff but couldn't move.

    What's sad is that we have exacerbated allergies as a people by moving to places like AZ to escape the sources, but then bringing along the grasses and trees to which we were allergic!

  18. They have these "neti pots" you can buy that you fill with warm saline and use to rinse out your nose. I kid you not - you put the little pot in one nostril and tilt your head and let the water run in one nostril and out the other. Refill and repeat the other way.
    Apparently it's supposed to help heal up sinus infections and the's been use in asia for centuries. I giggle at it all and have never tried one but heard the work really well. They really seem to help some people clear out their sinuses and deal with allergies...apparently.
    Maybe the saline washes would help "toughen up" and heal the nosebleedy areas of your nose...I know salt water helps healing piercing and dental work...jsut a thought.
    If you do try one out...take photos. I'm dying to see. Here's a link to how they work...I haven't been able to get up the nerve to try one. I am not sure I could.

  19. Wow this is really helpful! Glad I never got cauterized, as that sounds much worse than putting up with my (mostly mild) nosebleeds.

    And the neti pots, I keep hearing about the neti pots! Someday I'll have to get one. But I did try a saline rinse thing which I think is supposed to do the same thing, and if it helped my allergies or nosebleeds at all, it wasn't noticeable. Perhaps it I tried if for a few months instead of a few days...

    Love the allergy/nosebleed stories, and my sympathies to those who have it worse that I do.

  20. I used to get nosebleeds once in awhile as a child, but haven't had one in years.

    This post made me think of the time, in the 70s, that my parents, my brother and I stayed the night at the home of my dad's old college roomate.

    These people had a very modern home, with thick white shag carpet. We had to stand in the kitchen to drink something, to prevent spills.

    That night my brother and I bunked down on the floor, in sleeping bags. And during the night...I got a whopping nosebleed. Yup. All over the shag carpet. I am sure my anxiety over the carpet induced it.

  21. Laughing at this post -- I love it! I'm honored I could play a small part in inspiring it. I must now embark upon my quest for a neti pot -- and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to wear white once more!

  22. Thank you Shannon, both for the comment and for starting the whole thing!

  23. I feel no shame in leaving the following message: It's my birthday today! And Cranky, I could ask for a better gift than a specially-customized Nosebleed Day tee shirt. Email me and I'll give you my address.

  24. While I was doing the chemo, I was introduced to something called Secaris by my pharmacist. It is a gel you put in your nose, clears up stuffiness too and I think comes in a spray. is the website on the tube. Made in Canada, but you might be able to find it there. If not email me.

  25. My husband has had success reducing his nose bleeds by running a humidifier at night. A total bonus with the humidifier is that I sleep more soundly, too. So, now we have them in the kids' rooms and they sleep better (or it at least drowns out their crankies if they're not . . . hmmmm . . . ). It helps my son's chronically dry skin, too. That's 3 cheers for humidifiers!

  26. I used to get nosebleeds all the time when I was a kid with severe allergies. I was the lucky kid who couldn't eat the chocolate cake, drink the milk, eat the eggs or have the peanut butter in the PB&J.

    Thankfully I've outgrown most of the food allergies and never have to have a jelly and fluff sandwich ever again.

    I still suffer with all the pollens, grass, trees, dust and pet allergies.

    I don't get nosebleeds too often these days but have a humidifier going constantly and try to rinse out the nostrils regularly.

    Have you tried using a Neti Pot? It freaked me out but my friend raves about it and doesn't have nearly as many nosebleeds since she started using it.

  27. Not to brag, but I can self-cauterize. Seriously. It's a band-aid measure, at best, and after twenty-odd emergency visits and one minor surgery to alter my blood vessels, I've just become VERY friendly with Vaseline and my humidifier.

    Good luck, Crabby!

  28. You guys think of everything!! As a resident of a dry, high-altitude climate, I think I am the only person I know who actually doesn't get them. However, I still found this educational, and ok, a little gross. That's never bothered me before, though :)

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Nose bleeder here. Guess being a guy and lots of dryness in the winter doesn't help me.

    I hate the tip forward thing. Don't tell anyone, but I tip my head back and usually blow my nose a few times before trying to get it to stop.

    What the heck is May Day anyway??

  31. I think I've had almost no nosebleeds in my whole life. AND thank goodness or I'd have to buy one of those terrible shirts! Yikes. Did you make that graphic?

  32. i used to get nosebleeds all the time when i was a kid, but they stopped as soon as i stopped getting allergy shots. go figure.

  33. This is so cool! I expected, like, 3 comments and instead I'm getting all this great nosebleed and allergy info, and you guys are cracking me up.

    And hiya Jennifer! Nah, the bloody t-shirt is courtesy of my usual stock photo source. I'm frankly hoping they used paint to do the shot.

  34. I got nosebleeds all the time when I was a kid, and finally around when I was 14 and routinely had golfball sized clots coming out of my nose (NICE!!) my mother took me to the ear nose and throat guy (our wallets were fine in Canada) and he stuck the cauterizing stick thing up there. I had to return a few times over the next couple of years but now I very rarely get nosebleeds.

  35. Hiya, Crabby.

    Big thanks for the link love, and excellent job wrangling up more bloody good facts. Who knew that nosebleeds would end up being the hot topic of the week? Heh.

    Good times, man. Good times.


Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)