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Children between the ages of three to ten are prone to nosebleeds. While it can look serious, in most cases it isn’t. However, if your child has recurrent nosebleeds or if the bleeding doesn’t subside, you will need to consult a doctor immediately.
Types Of Nosebleeds
Nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, are of two types:
- Posterior Nosebleeds
Posterior nosebleeds are rare in children and tend to occur in adults with high blood pressure. Children may have this type of nosebleed only in the event of serious injury to the nose or face. Here the bleeding happens from deep inside the nose and the blood tends to flow down the throat even when the person is upright.
- Anterior Nosebleeds
Anterior nosebleeds are where blood comes out of the thin, superficial blood vessels or capillaries that are in the front part of the nose. These are common in children and are harmless.
How To Stop Nose Bleeding In a Child?
If your child has nosebleeds, follow these steps.
- Make them sit in an upright posture. They may lean forward but not backward as it can cause the blood to flow into the throat.
- If your child is old enough, ask her to gently press the soft bridge in the centre of the nose for 10 minutes with a tissue. If your child is too young, you will have to do this yourself.
- If the bleeding doesn’t stop in 10 minutes, keep the pressure for another 10 minutes.
- In case the bleeding continues even after 20 minutes, seek medical assistance.
Causes Of Epistaxis In Children
Nosebleeds can be caused due to many reasons. Some of them are:
- Allergies and cold may cause irritation and make the inside of the nose swell, rupturing the capillaries.
- Trauma caused due to acts like picking the nose, blowing the nose too hard or inserting some sharp into the nose can also result in nosebleeds. It can also occur if your child is injured by any object that falls on the nose.
- Bacterial infection can make the skin inside the nose red and sore, leading to bleeding.
- Dry air or low humidity is also a common cause of nosebleeds as it irritates the membranes on the nose and causes dehydration.
- Anatomical problems can cause nosebleeds due to abnormal structures and growths inside the nose that cause crusting.
- Problems with blood clotting caused due to certain medications like aspirin or diseases like haemophilia can cause nosebleeds. However, this is very rare.
- Children with chronic illness and those who require additional oxygen or medications may have nosebleeds, as the lining of the nose is adversely affected in such cases.
Recurrent Nosebleeds In Kids
It is common for kids to get one or two nosebleeds in a year. However, if your child has nosebleeds over two or three times a week, you will need to consult a doctor.
Recurrent nosebleeds may also happen if your child has a nose-picking problem. Frequent nose picking can make the lining of the nose irritated and expose the blood vessels, which then tend to rupture very easily.
How Is The Diagnosis Done?
Diagnosis of nosebleeds includes a thorough physical examination to determine the underlying cause. A specially lighted scope will be used to check the insides of the nose, and a complete medical history should be provided to the doctor. Based on the physical examination, the doctor will determine the seriousness of the condition and the need for imaging or lab tests like CT scans and allergy tests.
Treating Child Nose Bleeding
Common nosebleeds can be stopped by applying direct pressure to the nose or to the bridge of the nose. In case of bleeds that don’t stop soon, you can apply ice to the bridge of the nose to decrease blood flow or use nasal sprays that shrink the blood vessels for a while.
How To Treat Recurrent Nosebleeds In Children?
Here are some of the best ways to treat recurrent nosebleed in children.
- Using humidifiers or vaporizers in the bedroom of your child can add moisture to the air and prevent dry air.
- Moisturise the nasal lining with nasal saline mists two to three times a day. You can also rub petroleum jelly or lanolin (wool wax) on it twice a day.
- Antibiotic ointments can be used if there is a sore or exposed blood vessel on the nasal septum.
- In case of more stubborn bleeds, an ENT may suggest cauterization, where the skin around the bleed is burnt to prevent infection.
How to Prevent Nose Bleeding In Kids?
To prevent bleeding from the nose in a child, ask your child to stop picking his nose and make sure you clip his nails to prevent injury to the nasal lining. You can also keep humidifiers in your child’s room to lower the chances of dry air. If your child gets frequent nosebleeds, you can also check with your doctor about using saline nose drops to maintain moisture in the nose.
When To Consult a Doctor?
You will need to call the doctor if:
- The nosebleed occurred as a result of the insertion of a sharp object in the nose
- You think that your child has lost a lot of blood
- You notice bleeding on your child’s gums or other areas
- Your child has started a new medicine
- The child is pale and isn’t responding
- The child has regular nose bleeds
If you encounter nosebleeds in your child, don’t panic as most nosebleeds are virtually harmless. Follow the required steps to stop the bleeding. If it continues even after 20 minutes, you will need to take him to a doctor for further diagnosis.