“MOM – my nose is bleeding!” Nosebleeds are common in children between the ages of 3 and 10 years old. Most bleeds are caused by dry air. Heated indoor air or a dry climate dries out and irritates nasal membranes, causing crusts that may itch and then bleed when scratched or picked. Colds can also irritate the lining of the nose, with bleeding following repeated nose-blowing.
Handling a nosebleed
While nosebleeds can be dramatic, most can be managed at home and stop on their own. Here’s what you can do:
- Keep your child calm
- Seat your child upright on your lap or in a chair, then tilt her head slightly forward.
- Get a clean cloth or tissue and gently pinch the soft part of her nose – just below the bony ridge.
- It’s important that you DON’T have your child lean back – this could cause blood to flow down the back of the throat, which may cause gagging, vomiting or coughing.
- If it’s a serious bleed, keep pressure on the nose for about 10 minutes; if you stop too soon, bleeding may start again.
- After a nosebleed, discourage nose-blowing, rubbing or picking – let your child relax and avoid any rough play for a while.
When to call the doctor
Make an appointment with the doctor if your child:
- May have put something in his or her nose
- Has nosebleeds often
- Bruises easily
- Has bleeding from another place, such as the gums or heavy bleeding from minor wounds
- Has just started taking new medication
- Has very heavy nose-bleeds accompanied by dizziness or weakness
- Has a nosebleed after blow to the head, or a fall
- Has bleeding that doesn’t stop after two attempts of applying pressure for 10 minutes each
Tips for preventing nosebleeds
Since most nosebleeds in kids are caused by nose-picking or irritation from hot dry air, keep your child’s nails short to prevent injuries from nose-picking. Also, use saline spray to keep the inside of the nose moist and run a humidifier in bedrooms if the air is dry. Most of all, nosebleeds are part of childhood, so don’t panic!