Q. My nose gets terribly dry in the winter and I frequently get nosebleeds. I used to use Vicks VapoRub to moisturize it but read in your column this is a bad idea. My doctor told me to use K-Y Jelly, and it works great to prevent nosebleeds.

A. Pulmonologists have warned against using petroleum jelly in the nostrils since such products may be bad for the lungs. K-Y Jelly is a water-based sexual lubricant, so the risk is much lower. Saline nasal sprays may also help moisten dry nasal tissues.

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  1. rachel

    They used to sell nasal jelly (Kondon made it) in the drug stores for this purpose. You cannot find it anymore. I already have a humidifier on my furnace at home.

  2. Liisa

    KY Jelly is what we use on my patients when they have O2 on usually with nasal cannula. I use it also at home, during the winter months when we have the wood stove going blazing all day to heat our home. Along with a humidifier. Highly recommended. To save money purchase the store brand (generic). I have also used Ayr nasal gel found in many pharmacies- ask your pharmacist they may be stored behind the counter. Always consult you doctor if you use any type of CPAP or other types of nasal machines. I am not sure if it would grow bacteria…?
    I hope this helps.
    Liisa RN

  3. Elaine

    Thanks for all of these solutions. I just had my first nose bleed ever in my life (49). I just moved to Arizona in July and it is now September. I blew my nose and then the blood just started pouring out. My nasal passages are so dry here compared to Connecticut. I will try the ayurvedic remedy and maybe a humidifier.

  4. R Taykir

    A better old fashioned solution: keep the heat between 65-69, if not warm enough wear layered clothing or an extra sweater. Have plants in the house for moisture or place containers of water near heat outlets or radiators. You will be amazed to see how quickly the water will evaporate but you will find your nose, et al will benefit from the moisture and your tissues will not dry out.
    Good luck!

  5. fred

    We moved into a house with all electric heat 25 years ago. When it got cold and the furnace ran a lot we had dry nose and slight bleeding sometime. Our doctor had us get a humidifier and we have no problem since. We only use it in the winter. Fred

  6. p.b

    I have been using KY for years to prevent embarrassing nose bleeds in the winter.I keep a small one in my purse.
    It also helps to have a humidifier attached to your furnace. It really works!

  7. Lori

    Here in Wisconsin during the winter, I have found salt solutions in Neti pots more drying to my sinuses and nasal passages. This winter I have been using Ghee, clarified butter, in my nostrils during the day, and a couple drops of Nasya Oil (an ayurvedic preparation made with sesame oil and olive oil) to go back into my sinuses just before bed at night. I have been feeling so much better that I don’t need the daytime application and nose bleeds are no longer an issue.

  8. abigail

    Decades ago I worked as a massage therapist. We discovered that lubricants containing mineral oil actually dried out the skin after frequent use.

  9. rmh

    Have used VapoRub in nose since taught to during childhood in 30s. It says on bottle now not to use in nostrils. Warning about petroleum products in nose is most welcome; have enough breathing problems now without adding to them, so will switch to non-petroleum lubricant immediately.

  10. dwd

    I have had nosebleeds during the cold months, and Ayr and a humidifier helped a lot.
    In 2008, I was on coumadin and the nosebleeds became worse in September just before I had a catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation. I was concerned that a nose bleed might interrupt my procedure.
    The ENT doctor said I has some blood vessels in the nose that were thin and the coumadin I was on probably made the problem worse. She cauterized them (chemically) about a week before the procedure and that solved the problem. Slight bleeds still happen Nov – Feb every year, but so far this year Ayr, saline, and yes occassionally vicks vaporub are working without a humidifier. I also tried the KY jelly when you first published using it and since it is so much cheaper than Ayr I suspect I will switch to it when the last tube of Ayr is gone.
    I also like the 4Way saline with menthol spray without decongestant. I cannot find it in local drug stores anymore. The 4Way they stock has the decongestant that makes nosebleeds worse for me. I found it on Amazon and a 6 pack with shipping was about the price of 6 bottles from the drugstore and that is a 1-2 year supply for me.

  11. anonymously

    I have been taking extra vitamin C with bioflavonoids in the winter for nose bleeds and it seems to make the nose tissues stronger and lessens the problem.

  12. RS - Grand Island, NY

    I have been using a cool mist room humidifier at night in our bedroom for several years because of my bloody nose and dryness in the winter and I never get nose bleeds anymore. Our child’s Pediatrician suggested it to me. I’ve been through a couple already and my favorite is made by Vicks, Kaz model DC-51. It is so easy to clean and maintain.

  13. Janet

    Achieved amazing results using K-Y on dry skin. Lots of research shows that glycerin is effective for all sorts of skin problems. Agree that saline mist is a good idea too. Thanks for the tips!

  14. jamie

    I would use organic extra virgin coconut oil. It smells great too :)

  15. Lewis in Arizona

    Ever since moving to Arizona, I’ve been getting nosebleeds frequently!! My Dr. recommended daily warm water rinse with NeilMed Sinus Rinse sold @ Walgreens & it has stopped the nosebleeds!! Now I breath much better too!!

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