Nosebleeds in children. To worry or not to worry?
What is a nosebleed?
A nosebleed is bleeding from tissues inside the nose caused by a broken blood vessel. Most nosebleeds in children occur in the front part of the nose close to the nostrils. This part of the nose has many tiny blood vessels. These can be damaged easily.
A nosebleed can look scary, but is usually not a serious problem. Nosebleeds are common in children. They happen more often in dry conditions (eg air conditioned or heated rooms). The dryness in the air can cause cracking, drying, and crusting inside the nose. Nosebleeds are common in kids 3 to 10 years old, and most are caused by nose-picking when the air is especially dry, or when they’re having a runny nose.
What causes a nosebleed in a child?
Nosebleeds can be caused by many things. Some common causes include:
-Picking the nose
-Blowing the nose too hard
-Injury to the nose
-Colds and allergies
-Object in the nose
In many cases, no specific cause for a nosebleed is found.
What to Do:
· STAY CALM and reassure your child. If you are anxious, that will make your child more anxious.
· Have your child sit upright in a chair or on your lap, then tilt his or her head slightly FORWARD.
· Do not have your child lean backwards. This may cause blood to flow down the back of the throat, which tastes bad and may cause gagging, coughing, or vomiting.
· Gently pinch the soft part of the nose (just below the bony ridge) with a tissue or clean washcloth.
· Keep pressure on the nose for about 5-10 minutes; breathe through the mouth; if you stop too soon, bleeding may start again. However, as a parent, we know that 10 minutes may be too long of a time to hold your child still, so we encourage you to try to hold as long as possible. Count together with your child.
· Wash the nose with cool water or saline water to remove the dried blood debris, so as to not injure the nose again.
· Pinch the nose again to apply pressure to the broken blood vessel.
· Have your child relax a while after a nosebleed. Discourage nose-blowing, picking, or rubbing, and any rough play.
When should I call my paediatrician?
Call the doctor if:
· You can’t stop the nosebleed after 2 tries
· The nose bleeds again and again in a period of 1 week
· Your child has an injury to the head or face
· There is a large amount of blood
· Your child feels faint, weak, ill, or has trouble breathing
· Your child has bleeding from other parts of the body, such as in the stool, urine, or gums, or bruises easily
· An object is stuck in your child's nose
How can I help prevent a nosebleed in my child?
If your child has nosebleeds often, you can help prevent them in these ways:
· Run a cool mist humidifier in your child's room at night, if the air in your home is dry. Clean the humidifier regularly so germs and mold don’t grow in it.
· Teach your child not to pick his or her nose or blow it too hard.
· Put petroleum jelly inside your child’s nostrils several times a day. This is to help protect the mucus membranes.
· Use saltwater (saline) nose spray as directed by your child's doctor.
· Talk with your child's doctor if your child has allergies that may lead to nosebleeds.
· Don’t smoke in the home or around your child.