Bacon gets all the internet glory, but its more old-fashioned cousin salt pork may actually be good for you—for your nosebleeds, if not your waistline. Doctors recently used strips of cured salt pork to stop a life-threatening nosebleed. One of the doctors remembered the unconventional treatment from a field manual he saw in his military days, after exhausting all medical treatments short of risky surgeries.
The patient was a four-year-old girl with Glanzmann thrombasthenia, a rare blood disorder where her platelets are unable to do their normal job of blood clotting. Surgery and injection of blood coagulation proteins didn’t stop her bleeding after more than a week, so the doctors turned to something untested and low tech: “Cured salted pork crafted as a nasal tampon and packed within the nasal vaults successfully stopped nasal hemorrhage promptly, effectively, and without sequelae,” they wrote in a paper about the episode. While “nasal tampon” may sound distinctly undelicious as a pork product, it worked—not once, but twice, as a cure. When the girl re-injured herself four weeks later, the doctors stuffed salt pork up her nose again and she was home in less than 72 hours.