NOT wishing to alarm you, but - although you might not know it - you're probably one of the millions of people who have at some time suffered an epistaxis.

In common parlance, that's a nose bleed.

Most times you'll be able to stop the flow by pressing your nose, applying an ice pack or simply leaning forward.

If that doesn't work, you might have to go to hospital and the treatment could be pretty uncomfortable and involve being admitted there for a number of days.

But that could be about to change thanks to clinical research being carried out by the emergency department at Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital.

Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is one of 14 hospital trusts nationwide recruiting patients to the NoPac study.

NoPac principal investigator at Musgrove Dr Jason Louis, a consultant in emergency medicine, said: “Nobody likes to have to come to us with a nosebleed but the patients who help with this research trial will help clarify the most efficient way to treat nosebleeds in the future.”

NoPac, with funding from the National Institute for Health Research, is trialling the use of tranexamic acid (TXA) to reduce the need for nasal packing to treat acute spontaneous nose bleeds.

Dr Louis said: “Epistaxis or nose bleeds are an extremely common condition caused by a blood vessel bursting within the nose as a result of trauma or spontaneously.

"Patients who come to hospital emergency departments are frequently elderly.

“In most cases the bleed can be resolved by simple measures like applying firm pressure with the thumb and index finger to the soft anterior or front part of the nose, the use of ice packs on the bridge of the nose and by leaning forward.

"If bleeding cannot be stopped patients attending hospital emergency departments usually undergo anterior nasal packing, which is an extremely uncomfortable experience and can require a hospital stay for several days.

“There can also be complications from nasal packing including infection, sleep apnoea and bleeding on removal of the packing.

"This procedure is tolerated only on the basis that there are at present little alternative ways to treat it.”

He added: “TXA has been used in a variety of clinical and research settings to stabilise and stem blood clotting.

“Results from a local study suggested that TXA could provide a promising alternative treatment to the current nasal packing practice and greatly enhance the experience for patients in the future.”