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What to Do When Your Child Has a Nosebleed
What Causes Nosebleeds?
- Extremely cold and/or dry air, which dries out the mucous membranes of the nose
- Dust, pollen, or other allergens
- Frequent or forceful blowing of the nose or picking the nose
- Foreign objects placed inside the nose
- A blow to the nose
- Inflammation due to the common cold or flu
- Chronic use of nasal steroids
Who Is Susceptible?
What Should You Do?
- Stay calm, otherwise you could upset the child.
- Keep your child sitting or standing and leaning slightly forward. If your child lies back, the blood will flow down her throat and could make her vomit. If your child is old enough, have him gently blow his nose.
- Do not try to stuff tissues or other material into her nose to stop the bleeding. Instead, firmly pinch the soft part of the nose using your fingers. Keep the pressure on for a full 10 minutes. Do not look to see if the bleeding has stopped during this time because you may start the flow again.
- If the bleeding has not stopped after 10 minutes, repeat the pressure for another 10 minutes.
- If the bleeding persists after the second try, call your pediatrician or take the child to the nearest hospital emergency department.
- Do not keep your home too warm (which dries out the air) during the winter.
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer (or simply place pans of water on top of radiators or wood stoves) during the winter to keep the air moist.
- Tell your child not to pick his nose or blow it too forcefully.
- Talk to you doctor about using saltwater nasal sprays or lubrication such as petroleum jelly in your child's nose.
American Academy of Otolaryngology http://www.entnet.org/
American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org/
Canadian Family Physician http://www.cfpc.ca/
Chronic nosebleeds: what to do. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/ear-nose-throat/Pages/Chronic-Nosebleeds-What-To-Do.aspx. Updated January 9, 2012. Accessed June 27, 2012.
Nosebleed. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/. Updated March 26, 2012. Accessed July 11, 2012.
Nosebleeds. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/nosebleeds.html. Updated December 2010. Accessed June 27, 2012.
RM Kleigman, RE Behrman, HB Jenson, BF Stanton, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics . 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2007.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 06/2012
- Update Date: 06/27/2012