Nose Bleeding and Coughing: Causes and Remedies

Under certain conditions, coughing and nose bleeds can go hand in hand. Coughing is a normal reaction to irritants or infections in the throat and lungs. While a nosebleed can be quite frightening when it happens, it also may be a normal reaction to irritation or infection. When you have both of them together, you may be concerned. The important thing is to find out why this is happening and take care of the issue. This article will explain some of the most common causes, and things that you can try.

Things That Cause Coughing and Nose Bleeds Together

A nosebleed and a cough both come from the upper respiratory tract. This is the area from the nose, down the throat, and into the lungs. While only your doctor can diagnose why a nosebleed occurs with a cough, these are some of the common causes why this may be happening:

1.    Dryness of the Nose and Throat

A dry throat can cause you to cough. You may feel a scratching or tickle type feeling in the back of your throat. If your nose is dry, it may become irritated and bleed. This can happen in hot weather, or very dry conditions. It is actually very common in winter when the humidity is low and you run your heater all the time. It can also happen in summer if you live in an area where there is heat with low or no humidity, like desert regions.

2.    Allergies

Seasonal allergies can irritate the upper respiratory tract and cause coughing. If your nose is stuffy, sensitive blood vessels can break open from inflammation causing bleeding. Allergies are most common in the fall and spring when certain things bloom. Rarely, food allergies can trigger a stuffy nose and cough. You can also have this reaction with allergies to animal dander if pets live in your home.

3.    Aspirin and Blood Thinner Use

Certain medications that thin the blood can cause nosebleeds. The medications that this happens with most often are aspirin, warfarin, NSAID anti-inflammatory drugs, and heparin. These drugs are given to prevent blood clots in the body, but often can make the blood too thin. If you sneeze or bump your nose, you may rupture these sensitive blood vessels, and cause bleeding that is profuse enough to bleed down the back of your throat. Your instinctive reaction would be to cough to help clear the throat of the excess blood.

4.    Exposure to Dust and Irritants

Coughing and nose bleeds may be due to irritation from something you have inhaled. This can happen if you live in a dusty house, or a regional area known for dirt/dust storms. Areas with high agriculture and harvesting tend to kick up dust and pollens that irritate the upper respiratory tract. People who work in industrial settings with chemicals or industrial pollution are also more susceptible to getting these two things together.

5.    Viral Illness

A viral illness can cause inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Swelling in the nose, sneezing, and blowing your nose forcefully can cause a nosebleed. This coupled with irritated airways in the throat and lungs can make you cough, your nose bleed, and a host of other uncomfortable symptoms. Viral illness is usually accompanied by fever, body aches, fatigue, and a sore throat.

6.    Injury

Injuries to the face, especially the nose may make it bleed. If the injury includes the mouth and throat, you may cough from the trauma. A severe enough injury may also make you cough up blood. Things that will make this happen include motor vehicle accidents, falls on the face, being hit with a fist or blunt object, and running into objects.

7.    Pre-Leukemia

Bloody noses can be a very early sign of leukemia. Leukemia is a blood cancer and can weaken the platelets that help the blood to clot. If the nose begins to bleed the lack of healthy platelets will prevent it from stopping. Excessive bleeding from the nose may run down the back of the throat and lead to coughing. Other signs of early or pre-leukemia include frequent fevers, weakness, and easy bruising.

8.    Smoking

Cigarette or other smoke inhaled through the mouth and nose dries and irritates the membranes. While it is rare, smoking can lead to nosebleeds in people with sensitive nose tissues. Smoking is also one of the biggest causes of coughing. In some, a very forceful smoker’s cough could also make the nose bleed.

Treatments Available to Help

A severe nosebleed that is gushing and interfering with breathing should be evaluated and treated immediately at your nearest emergency room. Frequent nosebleeds without explanation should also be checked by your doctor. If your doctor gives you the okay, they may suggest you try things at home for coughing and nose bleeds. Some things that can help include:

  • Hydrate yourself. If you have been exposed to dry conditions, drinking extra fluids can help to lubricate dry mucous membranes. This is especially important in dry, hot climates. It is also important to take in extra fluids in winter when you are heating your house, especially if you use a wood stove or fireplace.
  • Use a facemask. If you work in an occupation where you are exposed to dust and irritants, use a facemask while you work. This will protect your delicate nose and respiratory tissues from irritation and possible damage.
  • Use pressure. If you develop a nosebleed, place a rolled up piece of gauze tightly between your teeth and upper lip. Pinch your nostrils towards the bridge of your nose and sit still until the bleeding stops. If the gushing does not stop in 5 minutes, go to the emergency room.
  • Quit smoking. If you smoke and you cough with nosebleeds, it may be time to try and quit. Talk to your doctor about a quit smoking program.