Nosebleeds and Cross-hand Nostril Spraying

Just as the banners and exhibits of the 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics meeting were coming down in New Orleans, the displays of the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology were going up in the same convention center. An interesting study from Georgetown University Medical Center was presented at that meeting, looking at people who used nasal steroid spray to treat allergies, focusing on those who had frequent nosebleeds as a side effect.

When they were examined carefully, the bleeding was found to usually come from the septum (the tissue that separates the two nostrils). Here many blood vessels are close the surface. Typically, when someone squirts a nasal spray he uses the right hand to squirt into the right nostril, and vice versa. This aims most of the spray at the very spot bleeding is seen. The researchers suggested switching hands, using the left hand to spray into the right nostril, and vice versa. This naturally aims at a spot with fewer and deeper vessels. The result?

The nosebleeds disappeared!

Published on: November 13, 2003
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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