Nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, occur when the small blood vessels inside the nasal lining burst, releasing blood. They usually stop in less than 10 minutes, and although it may look like a lot of blood has been lost, excessive bleeding is rare.
In most cases, nosebleeds can be effectively managed at home with first-aid measures. When nosebleeds start to happen frequently, or they occur with severe headaches, they could indicate an underlying condition.
Although they may seem frightening, nosebleeds are rarely a serious issue. They are often caused by harmless activities, such as when your child picks their nose too forcefully or gets bumped on the nose while playing.
Other factors that could cause a nosebleed could include factors such as:
- Dry weather: Blood vessels can become overly sensitive and start bleeding because of dry weather.
- Colds and allergies: Infections in the nose and throat or seasonal allergies could cause swelling and irritation that may lead to bleeding.
- Blowing their nose too often: Frequent nose blowing could irritate the inner lining of the nose.
- Certain medications: Nose bleeds can happen due to the use of extra oxygen or medicines that have a drying effect on the nasal lining. Painkillers such as ibuprofen could also interfere with blood clotting and may cause nasal bleeding.
- Abnormal growths: Non-cancerous growths like polyps can cause crusting and bleeding inside the nose.
In most cases, nosebleeds are not painful, but your child could become distressed by the sight and taste of blood. It is essential to soothe and help them remain calm since crying could worsen bleeding.
You can also try the following steps to stop their nosebleed:
- Have them sit up and slightly lean forward: Do not allow your child to lie down and place their head between their knees.
- Ask them to breathe through their mouth: Breathing through the mouth prevents blood from entering their nasal passages.
- Tell your child to spit out any blood that collects in their mouth: It is essential to prevent your child from swallowing blood as this could lead to vomiting.
- Pinch their nostrils tightly: Hold them closed for five minutes and repeat if bleeding does not stop. Call your doctor or take your child to emergency services if bleeding continues after 10 minutes.
- Apply a cold compress to the nose bridge: Do not put gauze or cotton inside your child’s nose, but applying a cold compress on the bridge of the nose may help.
- Do not blow or remove blood crusts: Ask your child to avoid picking or blowing their nose for the next couple of hours since this may cause bleeding to start again.
Call your pediatrician in case your child:
- Has frequent nosebleeds
- Has trouble breathing
- Feels weak, dizzy, or looks pale
- Has a nosebleed after a severe hit to the face or head
- Has a severe headache along with nose bleeding
- Starts vomiting blood
- Has nosebleeds after taking a new medication
Frequent or severe nosebleeds could be a sign of an underlying condition. If any of these signs appear, do not hesitate to call your doctor or visit the emergency room.
When you arrive at our pediatric clinic, we will examine your child’s nose to identify any broken vessels. Depending on the cause and severity of the nosebleed, we may suggest a few treatment options, including the following:
- Applying ointments to stop the nasal blood flow
- Cauterizing the blood vessels to seal them and stop the bleeding
- Packing the nose with medicated gauze to constrict the blood vessels
After stopping the bleeding, your doctor may suggest additional tests to determine the cause.
Although nosebleeds can happen unexpectedly, some strategies can help prevent them:
- During dry weather, apply a petroleum-based gel or ointment to the nostrils to keep the lining of the nose moist.
- Use a humidifier in your child’s bedroom.
- Encourage your child to wear appropriate gear during sports to avoid injuries.
- Keep your child’s nails trimmed to prevent cuts from nose-picking.