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Nosebleeds: What You Need to Know

With humidity levels so low during our Southern California winters and cold temperatures pushing us to crank up our home and car heaters, children can be susceptible to nosebleeds. Fortunately, they’re not usually serious. Here’s what you need to know.

Nosebleed basics
• A nosebleed is bleeding from tissues inside the nose (they’re called nasal mucus membranes) caused by a broken blood vessel.
• Most nosebleeds in children occur in the front part of the nose close to the nostrils. This part of the nose has many tiny blood vessels which can be damaged easily.
• Your child may have pain if the nosebleed is caused by an injury, or sore tissue inside the nose.
• Nosebleeds happen more often in dry climates. They occur during the winter, when dry heat in homes and buildings can cause drying, cracking, and crusting inside the nose. Nosebleeds also happen during the summer when it is hot and dry.

What causes a nosebleed in a child?
Nosebleeds can be caused by many things. Some common causes include:
• Dry air
• Picking the nose
• Colds and allergies
• Blowing the nose too hard
• Injury to the nose
• Foreign objects in the nose

What should you do if your child has a nosebleed?
• Reassure your child, helping them to feel calm.
• Have your child sit up and lean forward slightly. Don’t have your child lie down which could cause him or her to swallow blood (this could make them throw up).
• Tell your child to breathe out of his or her mouth.
• Gently pinch the nostrils closed for 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t stop pinching to check if bleeding has stopped.
• Apply a cold compress, like a wet washcloth, to the bridge of the nose.
• Don’t put tissues or gauze in your child’s nose.
• After ten minutes of applied pressure, see if the bleeding has stopped. If it hasn’t, repeat the above steps again.
• Once the bleeding stops, tell your child not to rub, pick, or blow his or her nose for about two to three days. This will help the broken blood vessel heal.

What should you do if your child’s nose doesn’t stop bleeding?
If your child’s nosebleed is still bleeding heavily after two or three attempts to staunch the flow of blood, contact your CPCMG pediatrician immediately. Urgent medical care is definitely recommended if the nosebleed is a result of a head injury or if you child feels weak, dizzy or has a headache.

Follow up with your CPCMG pediatrician if:
• Your child experiences repeated nosebleeds
• Your child has bleeding from other parts of the body, such as in the stool, urine
• Your child is bruising easily
• An foreign object is stuck in your child’s nose
• Your child recently started taking new medicine

How can I help prevent nosebleeds from affecting my child?
If your child has frequent nosebleeds, you can help prevent them:
• Run a cool mist humidifier in your child’s room at night. Be sure to clean the humidifier regularly so germs and mold don’t grow in it.
• Teach your child not to pick his or her nose or blow it too hard.
• Put petroleum jelly inside your child’s nostrils several times a day to help protect the mucus membranes.
• Use saltwater (saline) nose drops or spray as directed by your child’s healthcare provider.
• Talk with your CPCMG provider if your child has allergies.
• Don’t smoke in the home or around your child.
• Keep your child’s fingernails trimmed to reduce scratches and irritation to the nose.