Why does my child keep getting Nose Bleeds

May 26, 2017

Why does my child keep getting nosebleeds?

To quote Mel, my Physician’s Assistant who’s a boxing enthusiast, “Because he doesn’t keep his hands up.”

There are lots of reasons that a nosebleed may begin. However, nose bleeds (epistaxis for the medical snobs) are most commonly caused by trauma. The trauma can range from gentle scratching, to forceful nose blowing or good old fashioned booger digging.  Most frequently, even if you don’t think you child would pick their nose a nosebleed is caused by a finger scratching the inner nostril.  Less common reasons would be high blood pressure, a foreign body up the nose, sinus infection or a clotting disorder.

Winter is the most common season for a nose bleed.  Dry heated air in the house creates a dry heated air inside your nose thus causing cracking and bleeding in the skin.

There’s not much to worry about a one time, occasional nose bleed.  If your child is having multiple nosebleeds a day there are some things to be aware of.  Repeated nose bleeds may happen as a child picks and opens and reopens a scab or blood clot.  A child can feel a clot clogging up their nose.  This feeling is annoying and they try to get it out.

To stop a nose bleed:

  1. Have your child lean their head slightly forward.
  2. Apply pressure by squeezing their nose shut from both sides.
  3. Apply an icepack to the side of the nose that is bleeding
  4. Hold pressure for a full 5-10 minutes

(Five minutes will usually be plenty of time to stop a nosebleed. If you have one that lasts longer than 20 minutes talk to your doctor.)

Lightly apply Vaseline to the inside of the nostril if your child gets frequent nosebleeds.  Use a Q-tip, twice a day, to coat and moisturize each nostril. You only need to go in the depth of the cotton tip.  The most important place to swab is the side of the nostril in the middle against the septum.

Running a vaporizer in the bedroom may help with decreasing nose bleeds.

Pain in the nose, bleeding lasting longer than 20 minutes in spite of pressure, headaches or frequent nosebleeds persisting should prompt you to see a doctor.