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I suffer from seasonal allergies. When it's severe, I have a lot of bleeding from my nose. What is causing this? Is it normal?

In addition to runny, stuffy nose, sneezing, and itchiness, people with seasonal allergies can experience nosebleeds. This happens because there are many blood vessels just inside the nasal opening. This is on the middle part of the nose. It is called the nasal septum. Dryness can make it worse. Bleeding can happen because of vigorous rubbing, picking the nose, or even the incorrect use of nasal sprays. While this can be concerning, it is not usually dangerous.

The most effective way to stop a nosebleed is to apply pressure. Pinch your nose closed. Hold it firmly for five minutes. That will cause the broken blood vessel to clot. The bleeding will stop. Avoid applying Vaseline or other similar things to the nose. This will not help stop the bleeding once it has started. It can irritate your nose even more. If the nosebleeds continue or don’t improve after a reasonable amount of pressure, speak with your doctor.

The best way to prevent nosebleeds worsened by allergies is to treat the underlying problem that is irritating your nose. This leads to rubbing and picking. Treatments include using:

  • Medicines such as non-drowsy antihistamines (e.g., Zytec, Claritin, Allegra)
  • Topical nasal sprays for allergies (e.g. nasal steroids, nasal antihistamines)

Nasal sprays must be used correctly, or they can increase the risk of nosebleeds. The proper technique involves spraying away from the middle of the nose, up and out towards the ear.

Saltwater (saline) nasal rinses can also be effective. They can remove nasal secretions, environmental allergens, irritants, and dried-up mucus. Pay attention to the instructions for performing nasal saline rinses. These can be done 1-2 times a day or more often if needed. The rinse should not be too vigorous. To avoid trauma to the blood vessels, don’t insert the nasal saline delivery device very far into the nose. Residual or dried blood may come out with these rinses.

Allergy, Nasal Allergy (Rhinitis), Pollen Allergy, Symptoms
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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