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I've got a problem with my nose. It randomly starts bleeding whenever, especially when I have a cold or the weather is changing. It's been known to suddenly start bleeding even when I'm just standing there. It can take anywhere between two minutes and an hour to stop the bleeding, and there's no way to tell at the beginning how long it will take.

I've got to meet (repeatedly) with some people (most my age (15), others 17/18).

What should I do if I have a nosebleed in the middle? Run out and take care of it? Sit there with a tissue on my nose until it stops? Something else?

I don't want to miss anything in the meeting, but I also don't want to gross anyone out or anything (a cousin of mine has fainted at the sight of blood). Then again, if I catch it in time, and just hold the tissue there people don't have to see the blood. I'm hoping that it won't bleed, but what should I do if it does?

(I do carry tissues with me.)

Should I attempt to stop the bleeding while at the meeting or leave the room to take care of it?

(I'm not looking for medical advice on how to stop the bleeding.)

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A couple of approaches that haven't been mentioned:

Depending on the meeting, it might make sense to interrupt it long enough to note what's happening, that if it gets worse you may have to step out for an indeterminate amount of time, and even ask if you staying will disturb anyone. Don't necessarily assume everyone (anyone!) will be grossed out.

Leaving without letting someone know what's happening is a bad idea - the others in the meeting may get worried. If you happen to have a friend in the meeting who knows about the problem, ask them to explain as appropriate if you simply have to leave immediately. If someone else is leading them meeting, you might approach them sometime beforehand, mention the possibility of this happening, and see if they have a suggestion/preference regarding whether you step out or try to deal with it in place. If you do leave, they'll know why, and can manage things better.

How critical your participation is also makes a difference. If (for example) you're working together on a school project, where everyone is expected to participate, trying to stick around if everyone is OK with it might make sense. If it's a staff meeting at your place of work (teenagers can have jobs too!), unless you explicitly have a role to play, then stepping out may make more sense (especially if you work around food, and are in a food-preparation area). If you're leading the meeting, you should definitely have someone ready to back you up if you do need to step out, or step aside for a few minutes.

If you've been able to feel out the group, or a group leader, as to their preferences regarding what you should do, then let that (and the severity of the situation) guide your actions if it happens.

If you've got an explicit reason to expect that an incident is likely (for instance, the air in the meeting place is particularly dry and you know this is a trigger after 30 minutes or so), then you should definitely bring it up beforehand somehow. As mentioned above, this might be mentioning it to whoever is leading the meeting (especially in a larger group).

In a smaller group, especially one you'll be working with regularly, mentioning it once to the group as a whole means you don't have to worry about it; you can assume it will happen eventually, but you've already dealt with it. In that case, getting feedback from the group as to what they'd like you to do is reasonable as well.

To digress for a moment, I'm a type-2 diabetic, and need to check my blood sugar and take some insulin before I eat a meal. I usually do this at the table (as it's almost always cleaner than the bathroom!) If I'm eating with one or more people I haven't eaten with before, I mention that I need to do this, and ask if anyone minds. I've had one person who did mind in the 15 years I've been doing this, and I always made sure I did this before leaving for lunch (or in the bathroom) when eating with her.

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I would say it depends on the situation.

It'd be fine to hold a tissue to it for a minute or two.

Holding it for an hour would be distracting. If it's in any way a distraction to others in the meeting, taking it elsewhere seems like the better option. You may excuse yourself from the meeting.

If some people might be shocked at the sight of blood, just briefly explain why it's no big deal (for the reasons you mentioned).

I don't have a bleeding nose, but I'm relating to it based on the situations where I have a common cold. It's usually because of dust or the air quality, and not contagious. Either way, I'd excuse myself from the meeting and go to the bathroom, empty the nose and come back feeling relieved. I'd also choose a seat where it would cause the least inconvenience to others, in case I plan to remain in the meeting for long.

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  • Yeah. I'd imagine that the bleeding stops after a few minutes. My behaviour would be based on grossness. If other people start reacting negatively, I'd politely leave and get it sorted out. Might be an idea to explain yourself: "It's just a small nose-bleed, I get these, it'll stop in a few minutes". – user1722 Aug 23 '17 at 9:24
  • Had it happen during a meeting and this is what I did and everyone was okay with it. Had it happen during an interview where they kindly asked if I needed help and excused myself to the restroom - interview didn't go great but I don't think that was the reason. Though my nosebleed does not last an hour - people would probably start to worry after some minutes. – Arsenal Aug 23 '17 at 13:19
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I have the same issues you do from a dilated blood vessel in my nose. Dry buildings during winter are my biggest enemy and as a result I can have anywhere from 1 to 3 bloody nose incidents a day.

From my experience, if you are having them as frequently as I do, people are going to inevitably discover that you deal with frequent nose bleeding so no sense in hiding it. Simply address it as it happens and excuse yourself as necessary. I don't know about your situation but I can usually feel them right as they begin but before there is any visible blood, so I have never had a colleague actually see any of my blood. This could be beneficial for you to learn as you can avoid most uncomfortable situations that involve actually seeing the blood.

Along with that, I have never met anyone that has scolded me or wasn't sympathetic to my situation. A lot of my colleagues are kind enough to catch me up on anything that I miss, especially during those nose bleeds that just seem to never stop. My point is you can never predict when they will happen and or how long they will take and that is ok. It may make people temporarily uncomfortable but your condition has the biggest effect on you and your ability to participate. You should do what you can to address them as they happen and to be a participating member of the meetings you take part in.

Also, it's great that you keep tissues on you! I tend to keep moisturizer with me too as it keeps the vessels in my nose from cracking. I know you didn't ask for how to stop them, but something I wish I would have done when I was at your age and on my parents insurance is to get my nose cauterized. They are performed fairly regularly and there are a variety of procedures that are out-patient as well. These have a very, very good chance of putting your nose issues to rest.

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Should I attempt to stop the bleeding while at the meeting or leave the room to take care of it?

If you can choose where you sit, I'd carefully pick a seat next to someone you know that won't be bothered with your temporary impediment. If possible, a seat close to the door, just in case you need to step out because it becomes more important.

If you want/need to attend the meeting, and can handle the bleeding with a tissue, it's fine. It's not rude / impolite. It happens, no big deal, as long as it doesn't bother or hurt others.

I would say: if it's a small bleeding (and/or doesn't last long), stay in the room, if not, you may consider taking care of it outside, so that it doesn't disturb the meeting.

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  • 2
    I mean, please go and wash your hands off even if you don't leave the meeting to take care of it. I have the same issue, and I'd be pretty grossed out if you kept touching papers with your bloody hands. – Azor Ahai -him- Aug 23 '17 at 16:25
  • Of course, but, seeing the age of meeting attendants, it's not a business matter, rather some school/charity/sport gathering, so, you mainly just listen. Anyway, not matter what meeting it is, if you had to touch anything but your tissue: NO, and go the the restroom. – OldPadawan Aug 23 '17 at 18:35
  • No matter where you are,go wash your hands. – Azor Ahai -him- Aug 23 '17 at 18:37
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Step outside of the room!

I get nosebleeds all the time, and my very first thought is to get to a location where I can take care of it privately. As I'm sure you know, the flow can vary dramatically between nosebleeds. If it's light, you'll only be gone for a short while, but if it's heavy, you can take all the time you need to deal with it privately. If your heavy nosebleeds are anything like mine, even changing tissues can get messy unless you're very careful. This can make things both unsanitary and disgusting for others to be around. Even if it's light, you'll still have to deal with bloody tissues which can still be unsanitary around others.

If it happens, grab a tissue and put it to your nose, and excuse yourself. Staying in the meeting while trying to hold a tissue up to your nose can be distracting for you and others. Sure, you'll miss some things, but you can have someone fill you in on what you missed afterwards.

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Most appropriate thing to do is step outside.

It's something you probably want to deal with more privately or in an appropriate area like the washroom, especially if the meeting is on the formal side.

It can be distracting to others to see someone trying to deal with a nosebleed in the middle of a meeting. Also, who wants to sit in a room of people with a tissue jammed up their face for up to 10 minutes?

I'd just step out, stop the bleeding, and go back in. Seems like the best thing to do unless there's some crucial information coming from the meeting that you can't miss.

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The first thing to do is to talk about it with a few people. Your boss for instance. And the meeting organizer. And maybe one or two other people that you work with on a day to day basis.

These people deserve and "early warning." They may also have useful suggestions.

In this case, it's a bona fide emergency and you should probably leave the room so not to affect other people (unless your boss or your "group" tells you otherwise). You need to tell the few other people so that they can make the proper explanations on your behalf without its seeming "strange" to them.

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TL;DR:

Excuse yourself and leave the meeting to assess the situation; return if possible.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one."

While you don't want to miss the meeting, you don't want to make the others miss too much of the meeting either.

Rationale

You don't want to interrupt the meeting too much. While you're dealing with the nosebleed — getting tissues, trying to stop the bleeding, cleaning up blood if needed — you're distracting the other participants and interrupting the meeting.

Excuse yourself with a short explanation ("I'm sorry, but I've got a nosebleed, nothing serious, it happens sometimes, I need to go clean up"), leave the meeting and deal with the nosebleed.
This includes assessing the nosebleed and guessing if it can be kept under control without further distraction. If it seems like a light nosebleed that can be kept under control with just a couple of tissues, return to the meeting and apologise for the interruption.
If it's a heavy nosebleed that would likely interrupt the meeting again, stay out and (if necessary) collect your stuff afterwards. Only if you need to leave right away you should interrupt the meeting to collect your belongings.

This way, you're minimising the interruption for the other participants, which should be your primary goal.

Repeated Meetings

If it's a series of repeated meetings with the same group of people, you might want to explain beforehand that you sometimes get these nosebleeds, that they're nothing to worry about and that you'll be fine. This may mean that people will get used to it and won't be distracted too much be a light nosebleed, so that you may not have to leave if that happens.
I'd still advise to leave the meeting if it's an unusually heavy nosebleed, though.

Broader Application

The same advice would apply for dealing with other interruptions, such as a persistent cough or even an important phone call.
Leave, deal with it, return if possible.

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I'd first excuse myself for causing a distraction or for potentially showing a few drops of blood to the people in the meeting. But if it's a 'serious' meeting and the holding of your nose isn't going to affect what you're doing, then I think you should stay unless asked to leave. I used to get a lot of nosebleeds and apart from being limited to using one hand for a few minutes, it never really required a timeout.

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