Dear Dr. Glass: After a couple of recent surfing expeditions I have developed an unsightly problem. In addition to the usual "nasal diarrhea" at the end of a session, my nose would begin to bleed. As with the nasal drip the blood flow wouldn't stop. What do you suggest?
Nosebleeds usually occur from direct blows; however as in your case a change in pressure or temperature in ones sinuses will likely lead to your problem. Begin to slow the flow of blood by keeping your head elevated and lie on the opposite side to the nostril which is producing the blood. Slightly tilting the head forward, not backward, will also constrict the main artery to the head. Apply a cold cloth to the area and apply pressure with your fingers.
If the above does not stop the blood flow, insert a clean piece of tissue or cotton to assist the blood to clot. Be sure to allow enough of the material outside of the nose for easy removal. Once the blood has stopped on its own, allow future clotting to take place by waiting. Do not blow the nose for at least two hours after initial clotting.
If your nose continues to cause problems you may have to arrange to have your nose cauterized. This is a simple process by which a doctor will destroy the defective tissue by burning or using a chemical agent. This essentially clotts the sensitive area to prevent future problems.
See you in the water,
Photo: Toby Batch (East Coast)