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Most nose bleeds can be controlled by compressing the ala nasi, thus applying direct pressure over Little's area. The ability to demonstrate the correct position for this manoeuvre was assessed in 115 members of the staff of the accident and emergency (A&E) department of a major teaching hospital. Overall, the correct response rate was only 33% and even trained medical and nursing staff achieved less than a 50% success rate. Increased awareness of this simple and effective technique is recommended.