Nosebleeds Are Nothing to Sneeze At


With Valentine’s Day here, parents have been seeing red – not just in their children’s valentines, but from blood that can come from their child’s nose during a nosebleed. The clot thickens, so to speak, so let me provide some information on this topic.

Nosebleeds are probably as common as the common cold. They are usually caused by nasal passages being exposed to dry air during the winter season or recurrent colds and allergies that can make the inside lining of the nose raw, cracked and crusted. This allows blood vessels to come to the surface of the nasal lining and lead to bleeding. Often times, nosebleeds can run in families.

Home Care

  • Stay calm and reassure your child the bleeding will stop.
  • Apply direct pressure to the soft part of the nose
  • Make sure your child is sitting up and their head is leaning forward. This makes them less apt to swallow blood.
  • Don’t release pressure until 10 minutes have elapsed.
  • A cold compress or ice pack to the nose can speed up stoppage of bleeding.
  • Try not to blow the nose right after applying pressure, as it disturbs the new clot that has successfully formed.

Preventing Nosebleeds 

  • Humidify the air in your home
  • Apply Vaseline to the inside of the nose. This keeps the lining moist and prevents dryness and irritation.
  • Explain to your child how picking their nose may increase nosebleeds
  • Keep your child’s fingernails short, if they do pick
  • Remind your child they can pick their friends, but they should not pick their nose or their friend’s nose.  

When to Seek Assistance

  • Bleeding is occurring through both nostrils
  • Bleeding continues for over fifteen minutes
  • Bleeding appears heavy and is accompanied by dizziness or weakness or is the result of a fall or blow to the head.

If prolonged bleeding also occurs from other areas like the gums or from a cut elsewhere – or this happens a few times a week, please talk to your child’s health care professional. They will want to examine your child’s nose and, if necessary. perform some additional studies.

Hopefully, tips like these will stop up any concerns you have and prevent you from seeing red the next time you are worried about your child’s nose bleeds. 

Lewis First, MD, is Chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5.

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