Nosebleeds in Children

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child with a nosebleedNosebleeds can be impressive and scary to children and to their parents, but very rarely are they serious or a sign of underlying illness. The inside of the nose is delicate and bleeds easily. Bleeding from the nose is quick and copious, and often looks worse than it actually is. And because a young child will often swallow some blood, which is very irritating to the stomach, it is not unusual for a child with a nosebleed to vomit blood.

Why do children’s noses bleed?
Anything that dries, damages or irritates the lining of the nose can cause a nosebleed. Some common causes of nosebleeds are:

What you can do if your child has a nosebleed:

Follow these steps to stop the bleeding:

  1. Stay calm. Your child will take his/her cue from you.
  2. Have your child sit up and lean slightly forward
  3. Firmly pinch the soft part of your child’s nose (just below the bone between the eyes) for 10 minutes. Do not release pressure to check until 10 minutes have passed. If bleeding has not stopped at the end of the 10 minutes, resume pressure for another 10 minutes. Once again check. If bleeding still has not stopped resume pressure for one last interval of 10 minutes.
  4. If possible, apply a cold compress or ice to the area where you are applying pressure.
  5. Encourage your child to breathe through his/her mouth even after the nosebleed has stopped.
  6. Ask your child not to blow his/her nose, and try to minimize very active behavior for 12 hours to prevent immediate re-bleeding.

How to prevent future nosebleeds

If despite these steps your child continues to have frequent or severe nosebleeds your child’s pediatrician may recommend a visit to an Ear Nose Throat specialist for cauterization of the irritated blood vessels inside the nose. You should call the doctor during normal business hours to explore your options.

Call or see a doctor immediately if:

-Monique Araya, MD, FAAP

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