People are asking about this symptom, so we took the question to doctors.


With the rise of the Delta variant and a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country, the coronavirus is on people's minds again. And with that, it's understandable that you might wonder if that random symptom you're having could be a sign that you have COVID-19. Case in point: nosebleeds.

Twitter is filled with questions from people who are wondering if nosebleeds are a sign of COVID-19. For the record, right now, there's no scientific proof to suggest this. But to be fair, information is coming in all the time about COVID. Also wondering if nosebleeds are a sign of COVID-19? Here's what you need to know.

Credit: Getty Images

What causes nosebleeds?

A nosebleed, aka epistaxis, is the loss of blood from the tissue that lines the inside of your nose, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Your nose has a lot of blood vessels close to the surface in the lining of your nose, making it easy to bleed.

Nosebleeds are common—up to 60% of people will have at least one nosebleed in their lifetime, the Cleveland Clinic says. They can be due to a slew of possible causes, including:

  • Picking your nose
  • Upper respiratory infections and sinusitis, which can cause repeated sneezing, coughing, and nose blowing
  • Blowing your nose with force
  • Inserting an object into your nose
  • An injury to your nose or face
  • Allergies
  • Blood-thinning drugs
  • Cocaine and other drugs inhaled through the nose
  • Chemical irritants
  • High altitudes
  • A deviated septum
  • Overuse of nasal sprays and medications to treat an itchy, runny, or stuffy nose

What are the known main symptoms of COVID-19 again?

It's probably been a while since you've memorized the symptoms of COVID-19, so here's a recap, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The CDC does point out, however, that the list doesn't include all possible symptoms.

So are nosebleeds a sign of COVID-19?

It doesn't appear that way, and doctors say they haven't witnessed this when working with patients. "I've not seen nosebleeds be part of the constellation of symptoms that occur with COVID," infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Health. Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, agrees, telling Health that he's "never seen" this happen in COVID-19 patients.

John Sellick, DO, an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo/SUNY, points out that nosebleeds definitely aren't a main symptom of COVID-19. But, he adds, "we're at the time of year where people get nosebleeds anyway, due to allergies and being in the air conditioning."

Nosebleeds could be a side effect of some COVID-19 symptoms, though. "Obviously If someone has nasal symptoms and forcefully blows their nose, it could bleed," Dr. Adalja says. Dr. Sellick agrees. "We see people with nosebleeds with other respiratory virus infections, so it wouldn't surprise me," he says. Still, Dr. Sellick adds, "I can't say that the bulk of COVID patients that we've seen in the hospital have had nosebleeds."

Ultimately, if you develop a random nosebleed but don't have any other symptoms, you probably don't have COVID-19. But if your nosebleed comes along with other signs of the virus, like a fever and cough, you'll want to distance yourself from others and call your doctor about next steps.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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