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Nose Bleeds (Epistaxis)

Nose bleeds (epistaxis) are one of the most commonly treated ear, nose and throat conditions. They can range from irritating blood noticed only when blowing the nose to life-threatening bleeds that require a hospital admission Any nose bleed that persists or is recurrent requires assessment and treatment. The cause can occasionally be serious. Nose bleeds are very common in children and after a thorough assessment can usually be treated by application of a chemical called silver nitrate to the offending blood vessel.

This procedure is done by first spraying an anaesthetic spray into the nose. After waiting a few minutes for the spray to take affect, the silver nitrate can be applied to the blood vessel which is causing the problem without any pain or discomfort to the child at all. This single treatment is usually all that is necessary to solve the problem. Occasionally a second treatment is necessary.

Only one side of the nose can be treated at a time so it is necessary to treat the worse side initially. The other side can be treated after six weeks. Nose bleeds in adults sometimes take more detective work to find the cause as they can arise from quite a posterior location or even within the sinus cavities. Sometimes a CT scan may be necessary to find the cause. They can usually be treated in a similar manner to children but occasionally more serious causes are found.

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