Q. I want to thank you for saving me from a most embarrassing situation. I am president of a small corporation and we were making a pitch to an important client. I had been suffering from a cold for about a week and blowing my nose a lot before this critical meeting. Fifteen minutes before we were to start our presentation, I blew my nose and immediately developed a nasty nosebleed.
No matter what I tried to do to stop the bleeding, nothing worked. Then I remembered reading in your column about putting cold keys down the back of the neck. By this point I was desperate and figured I had nothing to lose. Within seconds the bleeding stopped. I don’t know how this trick works, but I sure am grateful!
A. We do not know how it works, either. But so many readers have written about their success, we are sure that this technique does work at least some of the time. Putting a large, cold metal key or ring of keys down the back of the neck to stop a nosebleed is a folk remedy that seems to have come to this country from Europe a long time ago.
Another reader writes:
“I read your column a year ago about stopping a nosebleed by dropping keys down the person’s back. This past Christmas, with the whole family gathered, my sister got a nosebleed. I had been waiting for some time to try this remedy, so I got my mom’s car keys and dropped them down my sister’s back. The nosebleed she’d had for about five minutes was gone instantly. The cold shock made her really tense up, which might be why it worked.
Here’s another take on the same remedy! I have read with interest your columns reporting keys as a solution for nosebleeds. I’ve been reading A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur, an autobiography by Gayatri Devi. In talking about palace guests whom she particularly admired as a child of 11 (in the early 1930s), she describes: “…the especially thrilling Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., the great swashbuckling film star. Later he came to Cooch Behar on a shoot and I had an even more unexpected bit of luck. My nose began to bleed and (he) looked after me and put a key down my back to stop the bleeding.”; I’ve never had nosebleeds but can’t help being intrigued by this lore.