You might be frightened to see blood pouring from your child’s nose, but nosebleeds are rarely dangerous enough to cause panic, according to KidsHealth, a part of the Nemours Foundation. Nosebleeds are actually common in children between ages 3 and 10 and most can be treated at home. However, knowing what causes them in the first place is the first step in preventing some of them from occurring in the future.
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The nose contains blood vessels that help heat and humidify the air you breathe, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. However, the vessels within the nose are close to the surface so they are susceptible to injury. Common causes of nosebleeds in kids are dry air and nose picking, but other causes include colds, allergies, sinus infections, nasal injuries and foreign objects trapped in the nose. These conditions typically cause the nose to bleed from the front.
Bloody noses that originate from larger vessels in the back part of the nose typically occur in older people due to conditions such as high blood pressure, hardened arteries, bleeding disorders and daily use of aspirin, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
If your child’s nose is bleeding, sit her upright in your lap or in a chair. Tilt her head slightly forward, pinch her nose right below the bony ridge and maintain pressure for about 10 minutes, according to KidsHealth. If her nose continues to bleed after 10 minutes, apply ice wrapped in a towel to her nose. Never ask her to tilt her head back, as it might cause her to swallow and gag on her blood. Call a doctor if the bleeding is heavy and your child feels dizzy or weak, the bleeding occurs after a blow to the head or a fall, or if the bleeding continues after two 10-minute pressure attempts, suggests KidsHealth.
Causes of Chronic Nosebleeds
Some kids frequently get bloody noses. If your child’s nose bleeds a few times every week, chances are part of the lining in his nose is perpetually irritated and the blood vessels are exposed to injury, according to pediatric health website AskDrSears.com. Even a small aggravation will cause the nose to bleed in this case. Consult your doctor for advice on reducing the chances of future bleeding.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The doctor will examine your child’s nose and ask you or your child questions to determine the site of the bleeding. If your child’s nose is actively bleeding, the doctor might numb your child’s nose and cauterize—or burn—the bleeding vessel to seal it, or he might use gauze or an inflatable balloon to place pressure on the vessel and stop the bleeding, notes the American Academy of Family Physicians. The doctor might recommend using saltwater drops and a home humidifier to keep the inside of your child’s nose moist.
Keep your child’s nails clipped short to reduce the amount of damage she could do to her nose if she picks it. Also make sure she wears protective equipment when she plays sports that could cause nose injuries and continue to use the saltwater drops and home humidifier every day, suggests KidsHealth. For added moisture, dab some petroleum jelly on the opening of your child’s nostrils.