Nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, are caused by broken blood vessels in the nose and are very common in children. There are a variety of triggers, and while most of these are benign and transient, there are some exceptions that you need to be aware of, as well as some things you can do to prevent nosebleeds in the future.
Are Nosebleeds Common in Kids?
It has been said that as many as 60% of people will have at least 1 nosebleed during their life, and for the lucky ones who only have a few nosebleeds, many of these will occur during childhood.
Ages 2 to 10 and 60+ are significantly more likely to experience these issues, and there are numerous reasons for this. Where the first age group is concerned, the main issue is nose-picking, but children also tend to have more sinus problems and colds, and these are known triggers as well.
What Causes Nosebleeds in Children?
The vast majority of nosebleeds are completely benign. In fact, while nosebleeds can occur as a result of sinus and brain tumors, these often present with other symptoms first and it’s rare for them to present only with nosebleeds.
Some of the common causes of nosebleeds in children include:
- Foreign objects getting stuck up the nose
- Sinus infections
- Cold and flu
- Nose-blowing and sneezing
- Dry and cold air
How are Nosebleeds Treated?
You can use Nampons to treat a nosebleed quickly and painlessly. These little pads naturally expand to promote clotting and eradicate mess, and they contain a clotting agent that has been used by countless medical professionals throughout the United States.
If you don’t have any Nampons to hand, follow these steps:
- Make sure your child is calm.
- Instruct them to sit straight and lean forward slightly.
- Don’t let them lie down and don’t tilt their head back. You should also refrain from asking them to put their head between their knees.
- Ask them to breathe through their mouth.
- Pinch the soft part of their nostrils gently for up to 10 minutes. Don’t stop to check if the bleeding has ceased.
- Apply a cold compress to the top of their nose.
- If the bleeding does not stop, repeat these steps until it does.
Once the bleeding has stopped, you need to make sure the child does not pick, blow, or rub their nose, as this may remove the clot and cause another bleed.
When to See a Doctor
Your nose is incredibly sensitive, and it doesn’t take much to damage the lining and cause a rupture.
Your hands become dry and damaged in cold and dry weather and if you don’t treat them, that damage could cause the skin to crack and bleed. It’s much the same with the skin in and around your nose, but because it’s thinner and protects many delicate blood vessels, the risks are greater.
It’s important to protect your nose against dryness, thus reducing the risk of nosebleeds.
Treatments for Dry Nose
The following treatment options help to moisturize your nose and protect against damage. Many of these options are cheap, easy, and could already be in your home.
Petroleum Jelly, best known by the brand name Vaseline, is a semi-solid balm-like substance that was created over 150 years ago and has been used for a variety of reasons since then.
It works by forming a protective water-proof barrier, sealing your skin and helping it to retain water. If you’ve ever used Vaseline and then tried to wash your hands with water, you’ll understand just how effective this versatile substance is.
It’s perfectly safe to use on the nose, providing you use small amounts infrequently. Just dab a little bit to the lining of your nose and smooth it out, making sure you don’t have a big lump stuck in your nose and that you can breathe easily.
If you have any preexisting lung problems, you should speak with your doctor before using petroleum jelly in this manner, as the constant inhalation of the product may exacerbate your condition.
Nosebleeds are very scary, and if they persist and occur seemingly without reason, your fears will intensify. But why are they happening in the first place and what can you do about them?
Why do I Have Nosebleeds for No Reason?
It might feel like your nosebleeds are happening without reason, but there is always a reason, it’s just not be immediately obvious. The blood vessels in your nose are very fragile and it doesn’t take much for these to crack, rupture, and bleed.
Some of the lesser understood causes, and the reasons your nosebleeds might seem more sudden and random, include:
You’re Getting Older
The two more common age groups for nosebleeds are between 2 and 10 and over 60. Children are more likely to experience nosebleeds because they pick their noses, stick toys up there, and fall over quite frequently.
As for seniors, there are also several factors at play, including a changing physiology that makes fingernails thicker, harder, and more likely to cause harm following a stray poke.
It may have seemed like a completely innocent nose pick, but if your nails are longer and sharper, they will cause problems that simply didn’t exist in the past.
You’re Taking Medications/Drugs
Some medications reduce blood clotting, others increase blood pressure, and both can increase the risk of heavy nosebleeds. The same is true for drugs taken intranasally (snorted up the nose), as they irritate the nasal lining, causing cracks and ruptures. In such cases, it’s possible to develop scabs inside the nose and if these are disturbed, they will bleed.
Steroidal nasal sprays also irritate your passages and greatly increase the risk of regular nosebleeds.
It’s Cold and Dry
Temperature and humidity changes account for a large number of adult nosebleeds and typically occur during the winter months, when we spend more time indoors bathing in synthetic dry heat.
Moving from the cold and wet outdoors to the dry and warm indoors is a huge trigger for nosebleeds. Think about how much damage the winter does to the skin on your hands and face and imagine how much worse your delicate nasal passages will be.
You’re Blowing/Sneezing a Lot
A particularly heavy sneeze or blow is all it takes to rupture the blood vessels in your nose, especially if they have been weakened by medications, nose-picking, or a change in temperature.
It might not happen straightaway, though, and could simply weaken the vessels and leave them vulnerable to rupturing at a late time.
If you’re having nosebleeds without an obvious cause, you should consult with your doctor. A few minutes could be all you need for a diagnosis and if it puts your mind at rest, it will save hours of needless stressing and worrying.
As noted above, there is always a cause and most of the time it’s completely innocent. Whatever it is, they will find out and make some recommendations that help to prevent future bleeds.
In a pinch, when you’re unable to get hold of any Vaseline, you can use lip balm. Ideally, it should be chemical free and as natural as possible, but if it’s safe to go on your lips then it should be just as safe on your nose.
Use a small amount and try to smooth it out. As with the Vaseline, avoid using too much of this product.
Saline Nasal Spray
A simple saline nasal spray will moisten and protect your nasal passages and may help to expel dust and other allergens. In fact, these sprays are often recommended to allergy sufferers as a way of removing dust, pollen, and dirt from the airways and allowing the user to breathe easily.
Saline nasal sprays are widely available and very cheap, often costing just a few dollars for a small bottle.
Steam is a great way to moisten your nasal passages and clear your airways. If you have clogged sinuses or hard and dried mucus, the steam will loosen it and allow you to breathe easily.
The easiest way to get a steam treatment is to boil some water, add it to a bowl, and then hover your face over it, inhaling the steam through your nose. You can put a towel over your head and the bowl to ensure the heat and steam gets to where it needs to go.
You might be using a similar treatment without realizing it, as you’ll get the steam treatment every time you take a hot bath or shower. This steam isn’t as direct or consistent though, so be sure to top it up throughout the day.
One of the best ways to moisten and protect your nose is to use a humidifier while you sleep. If you live in a very cold and dry climate, or you have the heating on throughout the day, it can irritate your nasal passages.
The humidifier will inject some moisture into the air and prevent those sensitive passages from drying out. Many consumers dismiss humidifiers as being too bulky and expensive, but these days you can pick up a very effective and compact humidifier for less than $30.
If the bleeding does not stop, you should consult with an emergency care provider. Generally, the bleeding will stop in a few minutes and it doesn’t become a concern unless it continues for over 15 minutes. If the bleeding is heavy and prolonged, they may recommend medical intervention.
If the nosebleeds are persistent, occurring one or more times a day for several days, and there is no direct, obvious, and harmless cause (such as picking a scab or clot) then you should book an appointment with your doctor.
It’s worth stressing, however, that the vast majority of nosebleeds are harmless and are usually not anything to worry about.
In the event that your child is suffering from repeat nosebleeds, you may find some relief by doing the following:
- Use a humidifier in their bedroom at night, as this will prevent their nasal passages from being dry and cracked.
- Add some Vaseline to their nostrils multiple times a day to protect them.
- Warn them about the dangers of nose picking.
- Make sure they clean their hands regularly.
- Trim their fingernails.
- Refrain from smoking near your child.
- Use saline sprays or drops to lubricate their nose.
Key Points: Nosebleeds in Children
To summarize, here are the key points concerning nosebleeds in children:
- They are common.
- They are usually nothing to worry about.
- Consult with a medical professional if they occur frequently.
- Consult with an emergency contact if a nosebleed lasts for more than 15 minutes.
- Teach them good habits to avoid nosebleeds.
- Avoid anything that will excessively dry their nasal passages.
- Don’t smoke around them.