What causes it
Nose bleeds are usually caused by dryness of the nasal lining plus the normal rubbing and picking that all children do when the nose becomes blocked or itchy.
About the condition
Nose bleeds (epistaxis) are very common throughout childhood.
Vigorous nose blowing can also cause bleeding.
All of these behaviours are increased in children with nasal allergies.
When should I call?
Call our Children's Emergency 6772 2555 (24 hours) immediately if the bleeding does not stop after 20 minutes of direct pressure.
What can I do for my child at home?
- Lean forward and spit out any blood
Have your child sit up and lean forward so he does not swallow the blood. Have a basin available so he can spit out any blood that drips into his throat. Blow his nose free of any large clots that might interfere with applying pressure.
- Squeeze the soft part of the nose
Tightly pinch the upper portion of the soft part of the nose against the center wall for 10 minutes. Don't release the pressure until the 10 minutes are up. If the bleeding continues, you may not be pressing on the right spot. During this time, your child will have to breathe through his mouth.
- If bleeding continues, use vasoconstrictor nose drops and squeeze again
If the nosebleed hasn't stopped, insert a piece of gauze covered with vasoconstrictor nose drops (e.g. Neo-Synephrine) or petroleum jelly into the nostril. Squeeze again for 10 minutes. Leave the gauze in for another 10 minutes before removing it. If bleeding persists, call our Children's Emergency but continue the pressure in the
meantime.Swallowed blood is irritating to the stomach. Don't be surprised if it is vomited up.
What not to do?
- Applying a cold washcloth to the forehead, back of the neck, bridge of the nose, or under the upper lip does not help to stop a nose bleed.
- Pressing on the bony part of the nose does not stop a nose bleed.
- Avoid packing the nose with anything, because when the packing is removed, bleeding usually recurs.
How to prevent?
- A small amount of petroleum jelly applied twice each day to the center wall (septum) inside the nose is often helpful for relieving dryness and irritation.
- Increasing the humidity in the room at night by using a humidifier may also be helpful.
- Get your child into the habit of putting 2 or 3 drops of warm water in each nostril before blowing a stuffy nose.
- Avoid aspirin. Aspirin can increase the tendency of the body to bleed easily for up to a week and can make nose bleeds last much longer.
- If your child has nasal allergies, treating them with antihistamines will help break the itching-bleeding cycle.