UCLA HEALTH SYSTEM
Many children suffer nosebleeds during dry and hot weather. Although parents sometimes feel anxious at the sight of blood, they should be reassured that most nosebleeds are harmless and easily treated.
“Almost all children at some point get a nosebleed,” says Dr. Shahram Yazdani, pediatrician at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. “They are typically not dangerous and don’t usually need medical attention. Nosebleeds are more of a nuisance than anything else.”
Nosebleeds occur when the blood vessels in the nose break down. While trauma and dry air are the most common causes of nosebleeds, some medical conditions such as sinusitis and certain medications, including over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays, can make blood vessels in the walls of the nose fragile and prone to breakdown.
To help control nosebleeds caused by dry weather, children should use intra-nasal saline sprays three or four times a day and spread a thin film of petroleum jelly or antibacterial ointment inside the nostrils. Children who don’t have severe allergies, asthma or other respiratory diseases but are experiencing nosebleeds may benefit from sleeping with a humidifier. Parents should discourage younger children from picking their nose and consider covering their hands with socks or mittens before going to bed.
During a nosebleed, it is important to not tilt the head back or have the child lie down, as the position may cause him or her to swallow blood, which can induce vomiting. Placing ice over the bridge of the nose or forehead may cause a headache. In addition, stuffing the nose with tissue may restart the nosebleed when the tissue is removed.
Three Simple Steps to Stop a Nosebleed:
Have your child gently pinch his or her nostrils together. Pressure is the best way to stop nosebleeds.
Sit while tilting slightly forward.
This can prevent dizziness or swallowing blood.
Consult Your Doctor
“A child who suffers nosebleeds so frequently that it affects his or her activities or school attendance should be evaluated by a physician,” Dr. Yazdani says. “Children who suffer frequent nosebleeds that are accompanied by other symptoms such as gum bleeds or easy bruising should also see their doctor.”
Brought to you by Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. UCLA pediatricians are conveniently located in your neighborhood. For more information, visit uclahealth.org or call 1.800.UCLA.MD1.