The most common kind of nosebleed is an anterior nosebleed, which comes from the front of the nose. Capillaries, or very small blood vessels, inside the nose may break and bleed, causing this type of nosebleed.
A posterior nosebleed comes from the deepest part of the nose. Blood flows down the back of the throat even if the person is sitting or standing. Kids rarely have posterior nosebleeds, which occur more often in older adults, those with high blood pressure, and people who have had nose or face injuries.
The most common cause of anterior nosebleeds is dry air. A dry climate or heated indoor air irritates and dries out nasal membranes, causing crusts that may itch and then bleed when scratched or picked. Colds also may irritate the lining of the nose, and bleeding can occur after repeated nose-blowing. When you combine a cold with dry winter air, you have the perfect formula for nosebleeds.
Allergies also can cause problems, and a doctor may prescribe medications such as antihistamines or decongestants to control an itchy, runny, or stuffy nose. This can also dry out the nasal membranes and contribute to nosebleeds.
An injury or blow to the nose can cause bleeding and usually is not a serious problem. If your child ever has a facial injury, use the tips outlined to stop a nosebleed. If you can't stop the bleeding after 10 minutes or you are concerned about other facial injuries, take your child to see a medical professional right away.
Nosebleeds are rarely cause for alarm, but frequent nosebleeds might indicate a more serious problem. If your child gets nosebleeds more than once a week, you should contact your doctor. Most cases of frequent nosebleeds are easily treated. Sometimes tiny blood vessels inside the nose become irritated and don't heal. This happens more frequently in kids who have ongoing allergies or frequent colds. A doctor may have a solution if your child has this problem.
If bleeding is not due to a sinus infection, allergies, or irritated blood vessels, the doctor may order other tests to see why your child is getting frequent nosebleeds. Rarely, a bleeding disorder or abnormally formed blood vessels could be a possibility.
Since most nosebleeds in kids are caused by nose picking, or irritation due to hot dry air, using a few simple tips may help your kids avoid them in the future.
Even when taking proper precautions, kids can still get a bloody nose occasionally. So the next time your child gets a nosebleed, try not to panic. They're usually harmless and are almost always easy to stop.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: January 2011
|National Safety Council The National Safety Council offers information on first aid, CPR, environmental health, and safety.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|All About Allergies Up to 50 million Americans, including millions of kids, have an allergy. Find out how allergies are diagnosed and how to keep them under control.|
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|Head Injuries Head injuries fall into two categories: external and internal. Learn more about both kinds, how to prevent them, and what to do if your child is injured.|
|Preventing Children's Sports Injuries Participation in sports can teach kids sportsmanship and discipline. But sports also carry the potential for injury. Here's how to protect your kids.|
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