How to treat a nose bleed

If this is an emergency, please call 000 immediately.

What is a nose bleed?

In a medical emergency call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

A nosebleed is when blood flows from the nose. It's normally caused when tiny blood vessels inside the nostrils are ruptured.

This guide is regularly updated and aligns with the current edition of Australian First Aid (4th edition, 7/2011)


Many nose bleeds do not have an obvious cause, but some may be because of:

      • a blow to the nose
      • excessive blowing
      • sneezing
      • high blood pressure
      • changes to altitude

What to do

Ask the patient to breathe through their mouth and not to blow their nose. Encourage the patient to spit out blood rather than swallow it.


Help the patient to sit down with their head slightly forward.


Pinch the soft part of the patient’s nostrils, just below the bridge of the nose, for at least 10 minutes.

Loosen any tight clothing around the patient’s neck.


If bleeding persists, seek medical aid.



Nose bleed fact sheet

DRSABCD poster

Related advice


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A first aid kit is an essential item for the home, workplace and vehicles. This fact sheet identifies a checklist so you can ensure your first aid kit is stocked and ready for an emergency.

Severe bleeding

Bleeding should be managed as severe and life-threatening if it can’t be controlled by firm, direct and continuous pressure, and/or there are signs of shock.

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