Nosebleeds in Children

Nosebleeds in children are common occurences and not usually a cause for panic. However, it is still important to know what to do when they occur. Here’s a step-by-step guide to treating your child’s nosebleeds at home.

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Causes of Nosebleeding in Children

Nosebleeds, or epistaxis, can be frightening, but they aren’t usually cause for panic. They are usually caused by dryness of the nasal lining, as well as friction brought on by the rubbing and picking of the nose when it is blocked or itchy. 

Nosebleeds are very common throughout childhood as children’s nasal lining are often much thinner before they reach puberty. Aside from rubbing and picking, vigorous and repeated blowing of the nose can also cause bleeding. Childhood nosebleeds are more common among children with nasal allergies.

Treating Nosebleeds in Kids

Most nosebleeds can be stopped at home. Here are some steps to help you treat your child’s nosebleed immediately.

Step 1: Lean Your Child Forward 

Have your child sit up and lean forward so that he or she does not swallow any blood. Keep a basin nearby so that your child is able to spit out any blood that drips down his throat. Be sure to have your little one gently blow his or her nose. This clears the nose of large blood clots and reduces any interference with your applied pressure over the bleeding area.

Step 2: Squeeze the Soft Part of the Nose

Pinch the upper portion of the soft part of your child’s nose against the centre nasal wall for 10 minutes, without releasing pressure. If the bleeding continues, you may not be pressing on the right spot. During this time, your child will have to breathe through his or her mouth.

Step 3: Use Vasoconstrictor Nose Drops 

If the nosebleed does not stop, add vasoconstrictor nose drops or petroleum jelly on a piece of gauze and insert it into the nostril. Squeeze your child’s nose again for 10 minutes and leave the gauze in for another 10 minutes before removing it. 

If the bleeding persists, call the Children's Emergency services but continue to apply pressure in the meantime. Swallowed blood irritates the stomach and may cause your child to feel nauseous and vomit.

What Not to Do

Do not apply a cold washcloth to the forehead, back of the neck, bridge of the nose, or under the upper lip 
Do not apply pressure on the bony segment of the nose
Avoid packing the nose with anything as the nosebleed usually recurs once the packing is removed

When Should I Call a Doctor?

You may call the National University Hospital's (NUH) Children's Emergency services at 6772 2555, which is a 24-hour hotline. Consulting a doctor is necessary if your child’s nosebleed does not stop after 20 minutes of direct pressure applied over the bleeding area.

How to Prevent Nosebleeds in Children

Applying a small amount of petroleum jelly twice a day to the septum (the cartilage that separates the nostrils) is often helpful for relieving dryness and irritation
Install a humidifier in your child’s room  
Encourage your child to add two or three drops of warm water in each nostril before blowing a stuffy nose
Avoid aspirin as it may increase the tendency for bleeding in your body and can make nosebleeds last much longer than necessary
If your child has nasal allergies, treat him or her with antihistamines to help break the nose-itching or bleeding cycle

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