Is my nosebleed the result of winter air?

Ask the doctors

Q. I had a nosebleed the other night. I've heard that this can be more common in the winter. Is this true?

A. Yes, you could be more likely to get a nosebleed in the winter because the heated indoor air may dry out your nasal passages and make the tiny blood vessels inside them more fragile. Nosebleeds occur when these tiny vessels rupture. Sometimes the bleeding happens at the back of the nose, called a posterior bleed. Or it may develop at the front of the nose — an anterior bleed.

Overall, nosebleeds are fairly common and tend to be even more common in adults ages 50 to 80. In some cases, nosebleeds may recur, usually because of some common triggers, which may include anything from allergies and infections to irritation from nose picking or blowing the nose. Some medications, particularly anti-clotting drugs (blood thinners), may also raise the risk of nosebleeds.

If you experience frequent nosebleeds, it may be worth discussing with your doctor.

— by Hope Ricciotti, M.D., and Toni Golen, M.D.
Editors in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch

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