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When Your Child’s Nosebleed Is Serious

September 19, 2023

Seeing your child with a nosebleed can be scary, but try to remain calm. Most nosebleeds look much worse than they really are and can be treated at home.

What Is a Nosebleed?

A nosebleed is blood loss from the tissue that lines your child’s nose. It can affect both nostrils, but most often occurs in only one nostril. Usually, a nosebleed is not serious.

The nose has many blood vessels in it to help warm and moisten the air your child breathes. These vessels lie close to the surface. When air moves through your child’s nose, it can dry and irritate the blood vessels. This makes them very easy to injure or break, causing a nosebleed at the front of your child’s nose.

Sometimes, though, nosebleeds are more serious. These stem from large vessels in the back of the nose. Nosebleeds from these larger vessels often occur after an injury in young children. It can result in heavy bleeding, which may flow down the back of your child’s throat. Your child may need medical attention right away for this type of nosebleed.

How To Stop a Nosebleed

If your child is experiencing a nosebleed, do not panic. It is important to remain calm and follow these steps:

  • Have your child tilt forward to prevent blood from going down their throat
  • Pinch your child’s nostrils just below the nasal bone, where the nose is soft
  • Hold for 10 minutes while your child breathes through the mouth
  • After bleeding has stopped, release slowly
  • Avoid other pressures to the nose, such as nose blowing

What Causes Nosebleeds in Children?

Nosebleeds in children are a common occurrence for many reasons, including:

  • Allergies
  • Sinus infections
  • Nose-picking
  • Putting an object, such as a toy, in the nose
  • Accidental trauma
  • Dry indoor air during colder months of the year

When To See a Doctor

Although most nosebleeds are not serious, there are some situations that should prompt a visit to your child’s pediatrician or ear, nose and throat specialist. These include:

  • A nosebleed that persists after 20 minutes
  • Nosebleeds that occur frequently
  • Your child bruises easily or is pale

Your child’s doctor will try to find out where the bleeding is coming from in your child’s nose. If the bleeding doesn’t stop on its own or when pressure is applied, your child’s doctor may cauterize the bleeding vessel or pack your child’s nose to stop the bleeding.

Preventing Nosebleeds

Keeping your child’s nasal passages moist is the key to preventing nosebleeds. This can be done in several ways, such as:

  • Using a saline nasal spray
  • Putting a thin layer of petroleum jelly inside your child’s nostrils
  • Making sure your child stays hydrated
  • Running a humidifier in your child’s bedroom

Managing your children’s allergies and encouraging them not to pick their noses also can help prevent nosebleeds.

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