Nosebleeds: Hollywood– Please Stop.

There are a few things that parents freak out about that are of minor concern to us in the pediatric emergency department.

One of those is the nosebleed. Particularly living in a dry state like Colorado– nosebleeds happen. Your nasal tissue is very vascular so if it becomes dry and irritated, it won’t take much to get a nosebleed started. Generally, all that is needed is a little extra moisture. A humidifier in the room. Some saline nose drops and perhaps some Vaseline applied to the inside lower portion of the nostril to resolve.

In my twenty plus years of nursing, I’ve never seen a nosebleed be a sign of any horrifying diagnosis. I’m not saying that it can’t be (and this is what likely sends most parents to the ER) but it would be an uber-rare event.

But Hollywood seems to have a fascination with nosebleeds. Anytime a character is using any increased mental prowess or mental super power– this is signified by a nosebleed.

In fact, I found some support of this ridiculousness with this blog post on 7 Most Ridiculous Psychic Nosebleeds in Movies and TV. It’s genius. 

And it has become an annoyance of mine.

Evidently, the medical assumption is that there is soooo much pressure in the brain from all this mental sommuersaulting that it has caused the nose to start bleeding.

If that were true, then we would see medical correlation for this. I’ve worked in intensive care where patients have had measured increased intracranial pressure to the point that they herniated (or shifted) their brain to places it shouldn’t go.

And still– no nosebleed.

Your nasal tissue isn’t in direct communication with your brain (it’s not part of that cavity) so it doesn’t make sense for a nosebleed to be evidence of increased brain pressure.

The only instance this might be medically reasonable is when there is a basilar skull fracture where the bones that line the bottom of your skull break. Then there does become a correlation between your brain and your sinus cavity and drainage from the nose can happen in that instance.

But otherwise– Hollywood– let’s let the nosebleed go.

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