Nosebleeds are common in children, especially in wintertime. Fortunately, most nosebleeds can be treated simply and are not a cause for alarm.
Nosebleeds occur when the blood vessels inside the nose break open. There seems to be a lot of blood because the lining of the nose is filled with tiny blood vessels.
Nosebleeds are common in children for several reasons. Children often rub or pick their noses or stick toys or other objects up their noses. This causes small tears in the nose, causing it to bleed.
Nosebleeds are more common in the winter. During cold weather, furnaces are turned on, making the indoor air drier. Just as this air dries out your skin, it dries out the inside of the nose, causing it to crack and bleed.
Heredity also can play a part. Some children have thinner linings inside their noses. Sometimes environmental allergies also play a role.
In older children, chronic nosebleeds can signal high blood pressure, but this is rare.
To treat a nosebleed, gently pinch the nose for at least 10 minutes (or have your child do it). This causes the blood to clot.
Have your child sit up to keep blood from the nose from draining into his throat and stomach, which may cause vomiting.
If your child does vomit, don’t be alarmed. The blood is from the nose, not the stomach.
For an older child, it may be helpful to apply ice where she is pinching her nose, as well as on the back of the neck. This constricts blood flow and aids in clotting.
It sometimes helps to saturate 2 cotton balls with a mild nosedrop (Afrin® or Neosynephrine® ¼ percent), and insert one in each nostril and then pinch.
Do not have your child blow his nose for several hours after a nosebleed. This may start the bleeding all over again.
WHEN TO CALL THE DOCTOR
If a nosebleed doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of pinching the nose, seek medical help. Special medications can be used to stop a nosebleed.
If your teenager has frequent nosebleeds, have your doctor check her blood pressure when a nosebleed occurs and again a day or so later to see if high blood pressure is a problem.
During the winter months, using a home humidifier will add moisture to the air, helping to keep the inside of the nose from drying out.
It may be helpful to apply a small amount of petroleum jelly with a cotton swab or the end of your child’s finger to the inside of his nose to protect it from drying.
Remind your child not to pick, poke or stick objects up her nose.
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