You’re in a public place, maybe a supermarket, and you suddenly realize your nose is bleeding—and you don’t have a tissue. It’s embarrassing, but surprisingly common. Nosebleeds occur when a blood vessel inside your nose bursts. The medical name for nosebleeds is epistaxis. Each year, up to 60 million people in the United States have nosebleeds. They are mostly likely to occur in the winter, when cold weather and indoor heating dry the nasal passages.
Most nosebleeds are minor and the bleeding stops on its own, but some people will need medical attention. If you have chronic nosebleeds, it’s a good idea to be evaluated by a specialist, says Peter Manes, MD, a Yale Medicine otolaryngologist. “We have extensive experience with all types of nosebleeds, from the simple to the exceedingly complicated,” Dr. Manes says.