Nose bleeds are more than an inconvenience, they can be scary and sometimes dangerous.
Nose bleeds can come at any time without any warning – even while driving along an interstate highway. As truckers, we see every kind of weather, travel from different climates & altitudes and and these conditions increase the likelihood of a nose bleed. Though this article is written for drivers, it is applies to anyone, no matter what you do and can be used at home or on the road.
Part of the appeal of being a professional driver is getting out on the open road and working by ourselves. This also means we are often alone, away from everything else and have to be prepared treat our own minor illnesses.
A Nose Bleed Can Ruin Your Day
A couple years ago, I was driving along I-76 near the Colorado-Nebraska border and blood started to pour from my nose. I mean, it was literally pouring! While traveling at about 65 mph, I grabbed some napkins and held them to my nose, pulling off at the next exit a few miles later. The blood didn’t stop running and I began to get concerned.
I tried several things from slightly tilting my head back to holding pressure on the upper nose, all with no success. Obviously, my heart rate & blood pressure were up due to the stress. I was in the middle of nowhere, about 2.5 hours northeast of Denver. Finally, I decided to drive a few more miles to a rest area and park.
There was blood everywhere – the steering wheel, my clothes, the floor of the truck. It took almost 2 hours for the bleeding to stop. Cleanup took another hour, so, I closed my log for the day and decided to start fresh, early the next morning.
What Causes Nose Bleeds
For most people who get nose bleeds it’s not a big deal, but a nose bleed can be a sign of serious health issues. If you haven’t already, TSG recommends seeing your healthcare provider for questions & a checkup.
There’s a long list of things which cause nose bleeds or make you more prone to getting them. Some of the causes are related to our general health and others have more to do with the environment around us.
Truckers often have the heater or air conditioner running in their truck, and that dries out the air. If the air outside is already dry, the humidity inside your cab is going to be really low, drying out the membranes in the nose.
Drivers often drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages, which are a diuretic and lower the body’s level of hydration. Dehydration can contribute to a nose bleed.
Altitude is a factor in nose bleeds. As an example, if you’re driving from California to Chicago along I-80, you climb from about sea level to around 9,000 feet before again descending to the plains on that trip. If you’re used to sea level pressure, the pressure at altitude is lower, which can increase the risk of a nose bleed.
Nose Bleed Hacks
After having a few more nose bleeds, I saw a doctor about the issue. She said I’m in good health but the membranes in my nose are thin, dry and easily irritated. The doc said this is not uncommon, especially when the weather warms up. She also told me ways to minimize chances of it happening again and what to do if it does.
- Hydrate: drink more water, less soda & coffee.
- Use a humidifier, when possible.
- Blow the nose gently to prevent rupturing tiny blood vessels inside.
- Use a nasal saline spray to keep the sinuses moist.
- A nose clamp or small tampon & Afrin can be used to slow or stop a nose bleed.
Make a Nose Bleed Kit
I made up a kit with some essentials in a zip lock bag, to have what I’d need in the event of a nose bleed. It weighs a few ounces and takes up very little room. You can find all these things at a Walmart.
From left to right in the picture you will see:
- Gauze pads to help soak up bleeding.
- Tampons to insert in the nostril (hey, the doctor said to try it). Smaller is usually better.
- Carmex & antibiotic ointment (generic Neosporin) to gently apply to the inside of the nostrils. This helps healing and keeps them protected from bacteria & allergens.
- Afrin, which helps with allergies and the medicine in it shrinks nasal membranes to slow a nose bleed if you get one. You can spray it into the nose or apply it to a tampon & gently insert that into the nostril.
- Q-tips to use when applying the ointments above.
- Nasal clamp which can be quickly used to keep blood from running everywhere as you get the other stuff ready.
I also have saline nasal spray with me and use it daily. This spray helps to keep the sinuses moist. It comes in a little bottle about the size of the Afrin bottle. The generic Afrin you find at Walmart works just as well as the name brand, from what I’ve researched.
Since my visit to the doctor, I’ve taken her advice to avoid any further nose bleeds. So far, it’s worked well.
Many people have never had a nose bleed, and they’re fortunate. Whether you’re prone to nose bleeds or not, it’s good idea to be prepared, just in case.