If your child gets a nosebleed, it can be concerning for both you and them. But the fact is, while most children get nosebleeds at one time or another, they’re rarely serious. Knowing the potential causes for those nosebleeds and the treatments for them can help you cut down on their frequency, if not eliminate them altogether.
Board-certified otolaryngologists Dr. James Osborne and Dr. Bryan Smedley at Oasis Ear, Nose, and Throat understand that kids suffer from certain conditions more frequently than adults, and one of them is nosebleeds. That’s why they’ve put together this guide to pediatric nosebleeds, so you can understand the situation more clearly.
What conditions cause frequent nosebleeds?
There are many potential causes of nosebleeds. Ranging from the most to the least common, they include:
Colds and allergies
Both colds (virus-caused) and allergies (allergen-caused) cause swelling and irritation inside the nose; these can lead to spontaneous bleeding. This is a common cause in adults as well.
Perhaps the most common nasal trauma in children is picking their nose. If they scratch too hard, they can cut the mucosal lining, causing bleeding. They can also bleed from shoving an object up their nose or blowing it too hard. And playground accidents, such as getting hit with a ball or falling down, can create enough force for the nose to bleed.
Rarely, though, are any of these serious events, and putting pressure on the wound and leaning forward should allow the blood to clot.
If you live in a dry climate, or if it’s the middle of the winter and you’ve got your heat running for most of the day, the air lacks the humidity to moisten the nasal membranes. Dry membranes are more prone to splits and cracks, which lead to nosebleeds. Running a humidifier inside the house and using a saline nasal spray can go a long way to keeping all the membranes moist.
If the interior structure of the nose is abnormal, mucus won't drain properly. The irritation can lead to bleeding.
Any abnormal growth in the nose can lead to bleeding. Although most of these growths are noncancerous polyps, you should still bring your child into Oasis ENT for an evaluation and to have the growths removed.
Abnormal blood clotting
Anything that interferes with blood’s ability to clot can lead to nosebleeds. Common medications like aspirin and ibuprofen can thin the blood enough to cause bleeding, and blood diseases such as hemophilia can as well.
Children with long-term illnesses who may require supplemental oxygen tend to have dry noses, which can lead to bleeding. Medications taken to treat the illnesses can also dry out the lining. Humidifying the air can help.
What should I do for my kid’s nosebleed?
A nosebleed can be frightening, but keep in mind that it’s rarely serious. Try to remain calm and keep your child calm; your panic only scares them.
Make sure your child is in a sitting or standing position with their head tilted slightly forward. You never want them to lie down, as the blood can flow down the back of their throat, causing vomiting.
Pinch the soft part of their nose between your thumb and finger, and hold your fingers firm for at least 10 minutes. Don’t release the pressure to check if the bleeding has stopped, as that can interfere with clot formation and allow the bleeding to continue.
After 10 minutes, release the pressure and keep your child still. If their nose is still bleeding, repeat the process for another 10 minutes. At that point, if the nose is still bleeding, contact us at Oasis ENT for instructions.
If your kid has frequent nosebleeds, it could mean nothing, or it could mean something. The only way to tell for sure is to come into Oasis Ear, Nose, and Throat for an evaluation and diagnosis. Give the office a call at 623-207-7560, or book online with us today.