Posted on: 13 July 2016
Nosebleeds in children are pretty common and are not usually serious. Occasionally, recurrent or severe nosebleeds may require treatment by an ENT surgeon to address the underlying cause, and your GP will refer your child if necessary. So, what causes nosebleeds in kids and what should you do if one occurs?
Common causes of nosebleeds in children
Your nose is designed to filter the air that you breathe so that your lungs are provided with humid and warm air, rather than air that is dry and cold. The nose is lined with tiny, delicate capillaries that are protected by a moist membrane, which produces mucus. When the lining of the nose is irritated, the capillaries may be exposed, causing bleeding.
If the moist lining of the nose becomes dry and crusty and is picked at by the child, bleeding frequently occurs.
Other causes of nosebleeds in kids include:
- blood clotting problems
- trauma following an accidental fall or blow
Nosebleeds in children often occur in clusters, so don't be alarmed if your child experiences another nosebleed a day or so following the first.
How to stop a nosebleed
A nosebleed can be frightening and distressing for a young child, so it's important that you know how to deal with one, should it occur.
Bleeding usually starts at the front of the child's nose. In order to stop the bleeding, you'll need to apply pressure to the broken blood vessels, which will help them to clot off. The easiest way to do this is by pinching the nose firmly between your thumb and forefinger, maintaining the pressure for about 10 minutes.
If possible, place a bag of frozen peas or an ice pack wrapped in a towel on the child's forehead. This causes the larger blood vessels in that area to constrict, effectively reducing the flow of blood to the nose.
Encourage the child to sit forward so that the blood doesn't run back down their throat, which could cause vomiting.
When the bleeding has stopped, leave the nose alone. Don't try to stick cotton wool or tissue paper into the nose; this will probably just start it bleeding all over again. If the nose continues to bleed heavily and won't stop, seek urgent medical attention.
In the days following a nosebleed, it's important that the nose is treated with care to avoid triggering another bleed. Try to discourage the child from scratching or picking the nose so that it can heal completely, and if possible, they should avoid blowing the nose too hard.
For the next week or so, hot baths should be avoided, together with vigorous exercise that causes the child to become very hot. This is because the heat and increased blood pressure could trigger another bleed from the already weakened area.
Nosebleeds are common in young children. Follow the tips given above to deal with nosebleeds and always seek medical advice if the bleeding is prolonged, heavy, and very difficult to stop.Share