Very few things are scarier to a child than a bloody nose. They can be pretty unsettling for adults as well! The sight of blood tends to evoke anxiety in both parent and child and can easily lead to overreaction. We’re typically not used to seeing so much blood at once unless it comes from a deep cut.
People of all ages may experience nosebleeds, but generally speaking, they are most common with children ages 2-10. They often happen in cold and dry climates in winter months. In most cases, nosebleeds are not as harmful to a child as they may seem. They typically stop without incident and don’t cause any long-term damage.
Nosebleeds fall into 1 of 2 categories: anterior and posterior. 90% of nosebleeds are anterior, meaning they come from a blood vessel at the very front of the nose. They are easy to stop with basic steps that can be performed either by a parent or a doctor. Posterior nosebleeds start from an artery in the back of the nose. They are very uncommon in children, but may require additional medical attention.
What Causes Nosebleeds?
Most of the time, nosebleeds are triggered by some kind of trauma to the nose. This might be exterior trauma such as being hit on the nose, or interior from nose picking or scratching. Cold and dry weather can cause irritation inside the nose enough to cause bleeding as well. Nosebleeds can also be brought on by sinus infections and allergies.
Less common causes of nosebleeds include the inability of your child’s blood to clot, nasal tumors or vascular malformations. These causes are very rare.
There are some things you can do when your child has a nosebleed that can help it stop quicker and reduce the anxiety of your child. These steps include:
Stay calm – If you get upset and excited, your child will have a tough time calming down.
Hold your child in your lap, upright in a chair.
Lean his or her head forward slightly.
Gently pinch the soft tissue just below the ridge of the nose.
Apply gentle pressure on the nose for 5-10 minutes.
Avoid having your child lean back – this causes blood to flow down your child’s throat. Not only does it taste bad, but it could also cause them to gag or cough.
Once the blood has ceased flowing, it’s always a good idea to have your child take it easy and relax for a while. Rough play or another blow to the nose could cause another nosebleed.
When You Should Bring Your Child to Us
There are certain types of nosebleeds that may require additional medical treatment. Please either call AllKids Urgent Care or bring your child to us if any of the following occur:
Your child has frequent nosebleeds
Something has become lodged or stuck in your child’s nose
Your child experiences heavy bleeding from minor wounds
Bleeding from the gums
If your child has recently started taking a new medication that may cause blood thinning.