How to Treat a Nosebleed
Seeing your child covered in blood from a nosebleed is a sight that causes anxiety in most parents, even though it is very common. Almost 60 percent of people have a nosebleed during their lifetime, most commonly during childhood.
Some children will have a nosebleed only once during childhood, while others may have frequent nosebleeds. Because of this variability, it is important to know how to manage a nosebleed and when to seek medical attention.
Nosebleeds can happen for a variety of reasons, but most commonly they come from blood vessels in the nose that are very close to the surface. Blood vessels can get damaged and break open from dry skin, foreign bodies in the nose, nose-picking or minor trauma to the face. Other causes, such as easy bleeding from a clotting disorder or a nasal mass, are much less common.
Most nosebleeds are not life threatening and can easily be managed at home. To prevent frequent nosebleeds, try a cool mist humidifier in the child’s room, discourage nose picking, and put Vaseline inside his nostrils using a Q-tip to keep the inside of the nose moist.
When a child has a nosebleed, he should not tip his head back to stop the blood from coming out of his nose. Instead, pinch his nose near the tip and tilt the head forward to prevent blood from going down the throat, which can cause vomiting. Tipping the head forward also helps prevent a child from choking on the blood that is dripping down the back of his throat.
A normal nosebleed usually stop after five to 10 minutes of pinching the nose. If it lasts longer than 10 minutes, or if it happens frequently, it is important to get checked out by a doctor. Other signs that a nosebleed is abnormal, include nosebleeds in a child with new, easy bruising; seeing a mass in the nose; or nosebleeds that have enough blood that your child is choking or vomiting blood.
As scary as nosebleeds may seem, they are common and can usually be taken care of at home with a few simple steps. If you are worried, however, or your child has any concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to see the doctor.
Dr. Katherine Battisti is a pediatric resident at Carolinas HealthCare System, and Dr. Shivani Mehta is a board-certified pediatrician at CHS Myers Park Pediatrics.
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