HealthONE - November 20, 2020

For many people, the sight of blood can be frightening, even when it’s not dangerous. So how can you determine when bleeding requires a trip to a HealthONE emergency room (ER)?

If your bleeding cannot be controlled by direct pressure or you feel you are losing a significant amount of blood, it’s time to get to the ER. In other cases, the following guidelines will help determine if your bleeding is serious enough to go to the ER.

Bleeding from the following sources or with the following symptoms may require an ER visit

  • Nose bleeds—Hold direct pressure on the bridge of the nose for 10 minutes. If the nose bleed persists for more than an hour, go to the ER.
  • Intestinal or internal bleeding—If there is blood in the stool or if you are vomiting blood, go to the ER.
  • Surgical bleeding—If the wound from a recent surgery re-opens or starts bleeding, contact your surgeon and ask if you should visit the ER.
  • Vaginal bleeding—If you are experiencing heavier than normal vaginal bleeding, particularly in the setting of pregnancy, go to the ER.
  • General bleeding—If bleeding cannot be controlled by direct pressure, visit the ER.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting or near fainting—These symptoms may be indicative of a larger problem. If you experience one ore more of these symptoms, visit the ER.

If the injury seems less severe than described above, consider visiting an urgent care facility instead.

Blood thinners and ER visits

Your need for medical care increases if you are taking blood thinners. Blood thinners make it harder for your blood to clot, which means you should immediately go to the ER if you experience bleeding while taking blood thinners.

Blood thinners are typically prescribed to help prevent heart attack or stroke. Common blood thinners include:

  • Apixaban
  • Dabigatran etexilate
  • Dalteparin
  • Enoxaparin
  • Heparin
  • Rivaroxaban
  • Warfarin

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