A mom wiping a child's nosebleed.
Dry air, nose picking and infection are a few common causes of nosebleeds in children.

Nosebleeds in Kids

From 3 to 10 years old, it is fairly common for children to experience nosebleeds. In fact, most nosebleeds in kids can be attributed to dry air or nose picking. While blood streaming from your child’s nose might be alarming, usually it is not serious.

So, let’s take a closer look at why nosebleeds happen, when you should become more concerned and proper nosebleed treatment.

Why Do Nosebleeds Happen?

A nosebleed happens when tiny blood vessels break in the nose. In children, this breakage often happens close to the nostrils where there are various small blood vessels that can be prone to damage. This is known as an anterior nosebleed.

Posterior nosebleeds happen when blood vessels break deeper within the nose. Usually, this type of nosebleed is associated with a nose or face injury.

So, why do these tiny blood vessels break in the first place? What causes a nosebleed?

  • Dry air. This is one of the most common causes of nosebleeds in kids. Dry air causes dehydration and irritation of the nasal membranes, leading to rupture of the small blood vessels. This is typical during the dry winter months in many places.
  • Nose picking or scratching. Many kids have a bad tendency to pick their noses. Doing so can quickly aggravate and expose the blood vessels, leading to bleeding.
  • Injury. Trauma to the nose or face might result in a nosebleed. While usually, this is a side effect of even minor injuries, if you and your child cannot get the bleeding under control within 10 minutes, you should seek out immediate and emergency medical care. Excessive blood loss is not something you or your child want to risk.
  • Illnesses impacting the nasal cavity. Colds, sinus infections and allergies, or anything that leads to nasal congestion and irritation, might result in a nosebleed.
  • Infection. The nose offers an easy place for bacteria to cluster. If your child’s nose is crusted, sore and red, this might be a sign that they have a bacterial infection. This infection can further cause bleeding of the nose. If you suspect this, visit your family doctor or local clinic to help combat the root cause with antibiotics or other medication.

In more serious and rare situations, a nosebleed might happen due to blood clotting issues, abnormal blood vessels, or another serious illness. Any nosebleed that lasts longer than 10 to 20 minutes or nosebleeds that have a frequency higher than four times a week should ring alarm bells. Further, if the nosebleed is associated with dizziness or any other neurological symptoms, it is crucial to get it checked out straight away.

Nosebleed Symptoms

Inevitably, the main symptom of a nosebleed is blood coming from the nose. For anterior nosebleeds, blood usually comes from only one nostril. For posterior nosebleeds, blood typically appears from both.

Again, if there are various other symptoms also associated with your child’s nosebleed, it is likely best to seek out medical help. At the same time, pain from injury with a nosebleed is not necessarily something to worry about.

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Nosebleed Treatment

The good news is a regular nosebleed is entirely treatable, and contrary to old wives’ tales, leaning back is not recommended anymore.

Instead, reassure your child and have your child lean forward. Leaning back or lying down might actually result in blood falling back into the throat, which can lead to vomiting and other discomforts.

Instruct your child to breathe through their mouth for the time being. Help them pinch their nostrils gently and hold a cloth or tissue underneath to prevent a mess. Hold this for 5 to 10 minutes before checking to see if the bleeding has stopped. Afterward, you can apply a cold pack to the area to encourage healing and reduce pain. If bleeding is still consistent, repeat the steps. If it continues for longer than 10 to 20 minutes, it might be a good idea to take your child to emergency care.

Once you have got the nosebleed under control, ensure you instruct your child to avoid picking, rubbing, or scratching their nose.

Nosebleed Prevention

There are many things you can do to help prevent nosebleeds in your child, including:

  • Putting a humidifier in their room.
  • Teaching them not to pick or scratch their nose.
  • Using petroleum jelly to moisturize the anterior nostrils.
  • Discussing your child’s options with your doctor if your child experiences frequent nosebleeds.
  • Avoid smoking around your child or in your home as this can cause dryness.

When To Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you cannot get the bleeding under control, the nosebleed keeps happening, there is significant blood loss, your child feels dizzy, weak, or faint, your child has other bleeding, or if an object is stuck in your child’s nasal cavity.

In most cases, nosebleeds are not anything to worry about. Treat them accordingly and help your child prevent them. That way, you can rest assured that they will not interfere with your child’s daily life and activities.