Although nosebleeds can look nasty, they’re not usually serious. Read about our techniques to help ease nosebleeds in children & when to take them to see a GP
Nosebleeds are quite common in children, and usually there's nothing to worry about. They’re generally mild and can easily be treated at home.
They usually start from just inside the entrance of the nostril. This is because the blood vessels there are fragile and can be damaged easily (if the nose is picked or blown too hard, for example).
What should you do if your child has a nosebleed?
For most nosebleeds, simple first aid can usually stop the bleeding. Techniques to ease your child’s nosebleed include:
• Having them sit up and lean forward. This means the blood will drain down their nose, rather than down the back of their throat
• Pinching the lower fleshy end of their nose (just above the nostrils) with a finger and thumb. Often, if they (or you) apply light pressure for 10-15 minutes, the bleeding will stop
• Putting a cold compress or ice pack on the bridge of the nose. The cold temperature encourages the blood vessels to close down, helping to stop the bleeding
Once the nosebleed has stopped, your child should not pick their nose or blow out any blood remaining in the nostrils for the next 24 hours, as this may cause another nosebleed.
What are the causes of nosebleeds in children?
• Your child not being gentle enough when blowing their nose
• Your child picking their nose
• The inside of their nose being too dry – this can be due to outside temperature changes
The bleeding generally lasts only a short time and is fairly easy to control.
When should your child see a GP for a nosebleed?
Nosebleeds that require medical attention usually originate from deeper inside the nose.
They’re more common in adults, but can affect children as well. They can be caused by:
• A broken nose or other injury
• Medical conditions that affect blood clotting or the blood vessels
• Some medicines, such as warfarin
Seek urgent medical help for your child if bleeding is heavy or doesn’t stop within 10 to 15 minutes.
Your child also needs to see their GP if their nosebleeds come and go regularly.
When should your baby see a GP for a nosebleed?
If your baby is under two years old and has a nosebleed, they should see a GP.
When should you seek immediate medical attention for your child’s nosebleed?
You should seek immediate medical attention for your child if:
• They are having breathing difficulties
• They’ve lost a lot of blood and the bleeding is heavy
• The bleeding carries on for more than 15 minutes
• The bleeding started after a serious injury
How do you prevent a child's nosebleeds?
Things your child can do to help prevent nosebleeds include:
• Wearing head protection, such as a helmet, during physical activities where their nose could be prone to injury
• Keeping their fingernails clipped and avoiding picking their nose
• Blowing their nose gently and as infrequently as possible
Speak to your GP if your child experiences nosebleeds frequently.
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