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A nasal pack is a treatment approach to a nosebleed in which the nose is packed with absorbent material to stop the bleeding. Other options for treatment of nosebleeds include the cauterization of bleeding vessels to stop them from bleeding, and surgery to address congenital variations which may be causing someone to experience an abnormally high level of nosebleeds. It is important that nasal packing be done by an experienced physician, as there are risks involved.
There are two different sources for nasal packing. One is a prepackaged nasal pack product which is designed to be inserted into the nose as a single unit. These products are often made from foam, and they expand once inserted to hold themselves in place. Prepackaged products can also have tubes to allow for air exchange, along with small handles so that they can be repositioned or taken out. These products are provided in sterile packaging and are intended for single use.
Another source is simply gauze or other bandaging materials which are available at the time a patient presents with a nosebleed. One problem with this method is that the nose can be injured during the packing process, because the doctor may need to use tools such as forceps. Care needs to be taken when preparing a nasal pack from bandaging materials to make sure that it is firmly in place, but not hurting the patient.
In some cases, a nasal pack may be medicated. The medications can be designed to promote clotting, to stop bleeding, or to ease pain and soreness in the nose. Packaged nasal packs can come premedicated for convenience. In either case, the pack applies pressure while absorbing blood to stop the bleed and keep the patient comfortable.
One risk of a nasal pack is that it can inhibit breathing from the nose, which means that the patient must breathe through the mouth, and it's important to make sure that the oral airway is clear. The patient should be checked for signs of blood which may be dripping down the throat, and should be encouraged to sit upright or at a slight recline, and not to lie down all the way.
Nasal packs can be removed after a few hours or days, depending on the reasons for insertion and the specifics of the patient's case. A doctor should perform the removal so that the nose can be checked for any signs of lingering problems. The patient may be advised to refrain from picking at or blowing the nose for a few days to give it a chance to recover.
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