Friday, October 12, 2012

Winter is Coming, Invasion of the Nosebleeds

Most people use animals, plants or stiff joints (which is hard for some bleeders since some joints are always stiff like my ankle) to tell when winter has arrived. I've never had a problem figuring out when winter has arrived because the cold air wreaks havoc on my nose. My nosebleeds pretty much start out of nowhere. There will be one day when the weather is slightly chilly and then the flood gates open. Sometimes it looks like I am trying to donate blood but forgot the bag to put it in, so I panic and just spread it around the bathroom. I've come to experience nosebleeds as another experience that my hemophilia has provided that isn't really terrible, just terribly annoying. Most often, these nosebleeds have a way of ruining plans and occurring at the most inopportune time or place. My wife has become accustom if I am in the bathroom for a long time, I have found something good to read or play on my phone or I have a nosebleed. Not to fear though, my experience should hopefully benefit other bleeders of the nose.

I must first say, I am not a medical expert and I am not trying to be one.  If your doctor disagrees with anything that I say, then I lose and you need to follow their advice.

So, after my experiences with nosebleeds, I am going to give you my top five tips for stopping/preventing nosebleeds. Keep in mind this is not something I think about all of the time, nor do I have a book planned, but something I simply thought might help out a fellow bleeder. I am old school when it comes to nosebleeds. I hardly ever use a napkin or towel to stop them and usually lick the blood off my fingers when finished instead of washing in a sink. I use my shirt for my nose and face because I crave the attention. Once again, this is not medical advice and I strongly encourage to talk with you doctor.

Tip #5

No Gold Digging - This might come as a surprise but you really shouldn't pick your nose. This is true for social reasons, but also for nosebleeds. I am even talking about the casual swipe with your hand because your nose itches. You should really treat your nose like the Bubonic Plague and barely even use it to breathe. This is especially true when you can tell it is stuffy and you just have the need to get that gold out since the price is so high. Leaving it alone can be annoying, but it is the best method as my nosebleeds happen because of a slight bump or brush.

Tip #4

Patience is a Virtue - This is a cliché, but it is true in more ways than you think. I am talking about when you actually have a nosebleed obviously, but also in other areas. When I have a nosebleed, it sometimes lasts awhile so I like to do a drip test. I pull off the pressure and see how long it takes for a drop of blood to hit the floor, toilet or my wife's shoe. You can aim for whatever is most appropriate at the time. This isn't scientific, as I already know that an object falls at 32.18 f/s faster each second until reaching its terminal velocity, which depends on its wind resistance. My drip test isn't as technical. I estimate how long it takes the blood drop to reach the end of my nose. If the blood comes quickly, I know it will be awhile and I just apply pressure. This way I am not disturbing the forming blood clot. You also need patience when you wake up in the morning. My nose is stuffed up in the morning and I have a very strong urge to blow my nose to clear it up. However, I know that if I wait awhile then my movement will clear up my nose a little bit so that I can blow it and not bleed everywhere.

Tip #3

Blow it Up - I think one of the most important things needed for a nosebleed to stop is a good clot. You may think I am crazy, but when you have had as many nosebleeds as I have, you know when there is a good clot forming. I also know when a good clot isn't forming and holding my nose won't do anything but just prolong my agony. Sometimes you can have a good clot but it just won't fully form. I have two techniques that I use. The first seems counter-intuitive but it works. If I feel like I don't have a good clot, I start over. I blow my nose and clear out whatever is in the there and start all over. It gives the clot a good clean surface to latch onto (like a leech). Keep in mind I don't do this every time, just when I feel the clot isn't working. The other technique is, when I know the clot is good but for some reason when I apply pressure it doesn't do anything, I will sometimes release pressure and see if the nose will stop, because sometimes I just need more blood in the nose to form a clot. This sounds weird but it works for me. I will release the pressure and just let my nose drip and then apply pressure. I have even just let it drip and it stops with out pressure. These are pretty rare instances, but sometimes I just try something until it works.

Tip #2

Keep it Hydrated - The main reason the nose bleeds during the winter in my experience is because of basic  science. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air, so the cold air has less moisture and dries out my nose. I don't know what is best, but you need to prevent your nose from drying out, as that will help prevent nose bleeds. I have heard of many different things that work, but I will let you find out what works best for you. Humidifiers, warm showers, Vaseline in the nose and breathing in steam from coffee or tea are some of the things I have heard. I don't really know what works best because I haven't tried all of these. I just know that when my nose is moist then I usually don't have to worry about having a nose bleed. I would suggest finding some different things and trying them out. I am a practical sort of guy, so I try it out and compare it to other techniques until I find something.

Tip #1

Don't Lean Back, Lean Forward - Everybody says this and everybody is right. The only way you are going to get it stop it is to not lean back, but to lean forward. It also helps to be calm when you are leaning forward. Sometimes, if a nose bleed is lasting awhile, I start to freak out, which gets my heart rate going. This may not actually matter, but if I get a nose bleed while exercising I have to take a break and let my heartbeat return to normal. I usually do this by sitting down, if I can, or squatting. So it isn't always just about leaning forward, but how and when you lean forward. The other thing I do when I lean forward is breathe through my mouth at a slow space to help slow down and get myself under control. Like I said this may not even be accurate but it seems to help me when I lean forward.

There you go peeps. That's the list I got for you. It's not mind blowing, but hopefully helpful. For the last time, I am not a medical expert and you shouldn't take this as medical advice, but just me talking from experience. Let me know what you do that helps, as I know I didn't share some of the more popular things like ice cubes on the nose, infusing (which I heard doesn't really help because factor is for bleeds that take a while to stop) or that stuff that you can put in your nose which I don't know the name because I never use it.

I hope this winter isn't too harsh and that your bathroom doesn't look like mine probably will. I always have to tell people I haven't hidden a body somewhere even though looking at my bathroom it sometimes appears as if I have.

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