Seeing your child get a nosebleed can be a frightening experience the first time it happens, but they aren't uncommon. However, if they become more routine, it may be time to look into the exact cause and determine a course of treatment to prevent them from continuing to be a frequent occurrence.
What Causes Nosebleeds?
Now, we aren't talking about accidents that can lead to nosebleeds. Whenever a child injures themselves and a nosebleed results, they should be taken to the hospital to get checked out. Beyond that, there are some reasons why nosebleeds seem to come on out of the blue.
Most nosebleeds in children are considered anterior nosebleeds, meaning they originate from a blood vessel at the front of the nose. They most often occur in young children during the winter months when the air is dry and cold. Allergies and chronic sinus issues are other common causes of nosebleeds as well as a deviated septum, which can be corrected. Much less frequently, an underlying medical condition like a bleeding or clotting disorder or certain cancers can be the cause. Lastly, picking the nose can cause bleeding -- just one more reason to get your child to avoid it.
How to Stop a Nosebleed
The first thing to know is the proper steps to take when a nosebleed happens. Here's what the Mayo Clinic recommends:
- Have them sit upright but lean forward to reduce blood pressure, slow bleeding and prevent blood from entering the mouth and throat.
- Pinch the nostrils shut and breathe through the mouth for five to 10 minutes to stop bleeding.
- Keep the head higher than the heart for the next several hours.
If you've taken these steps and after 20 minutes the nosebleed continues, it's best to take your child to the emergency room, especially if they're very dizzy or lightheaded. For more severe nosebleeds, the doctor may pack the nose to stop the bleeding. If nosebleeds are more frequent, cauterizing the blood vessel may be recommended to prevent the recurrence of nosebleeds.
Tips for Prevention
The best way to prevent a nosebleed is to look at your child's environment and and behaviors. Here are some steps we recommend taking:
- Use a humidifier in the house and especially in the child's bedroom during winter, or all year round.
- Discourage them from picking at their nose. Teach them how to properly blow their nose.
- Keep their nostrils moist with a saline nasal spray or petroleum jelly.
- Don't expose your child to secondhand smoke.
Be sure to speak with your child's physician before beginning any course of treatment for chronic nosebleeds, especially if they've been diagnosed with a medical condition. Check back regularly for more of the latest health news and information.