No childhood is complete without a nosebleed or two. Here’s how you treat them, and what to do if they keep recurring.
How do you treat them? Contrary to popular belief, do not pinch the bridge (hard part) of your nose and lean backward. Pinch the front/soft part of your nosed closed and tilt the head just a bit forward. Keep this pressure as needed until the bleeding stops, which should occur within 15 minutes. If it has not resolved within 15 minutes, give us a call.
What if they keep recurring? While a sudden nosebleed can obviously be caused by a good old bonk to the nose, recurring nosebleeds are often a sign of a chronic issue, and here are the most common causes of recurring nosebleeds:
- Nose picking
- Dry air
- Medications (some nasal sprays can do it)
- Infrequently, a fragile blood vessel inside the nose
Often, it may be some combination of the above, too. A good place to start for any child is applying Vaseline or Aquaphor to the inside of the nostrils to protect them, regardless of the cause. You can do this twice daily, especially before bed which is a common time kids get nosebleeds. Next, try to figure out what might be causing them:
- Dry air? Try a humidifier, plus Vaseline/Aquaphor as above.
- Allergies? Consider especially if there is a family history. Please set an appointment to come see me.
- Got a nose picker? Try gentle distraction without them realizing you’re distracting them - help them blow their nose, and/or give them a fun task that requires both hands.
- If all this fails and we can’t find a good cause, there may be a fragile vessel, and sometimes I’ll refer to an ENT to fix this, but this is very uncommon, so I’ll want to see you first and make sure we look into all the other options.
Worried about a bleeding disorder?
Fortunately, bleeding disorders are very rare. Only worry about this if your child has other bleeding/bruising issues. I’m not talking about bruises up and down the shins, or places where they bonk themselves. I’m talking about bruises all over, including places you wouldn’t normally see them or where there was no injury. Also, such children may bleed for very long times from wounds, too, and often there is a family history of major bleeding problems as well. If you are concerned that this could be a possibility, please call us for an appointment.
For urgent needs, same-day appointments are available Monday through Friday. Please call as early in the day as possible, the more notice we have the easier it is to fit everyone in.
Need help outside of office hours?
Firstly, if your child has an emergency, please call 911 or go directly to the ER - they will contact us if needed once your child has been evaluated.
Urgent Care centers can also be helpful when something needs to be seen outside of office hours but it's not an emergency.
For our list of preferred Urgent Cares and ERs, see our resources page.
And if you have something that might need urgent attention but you're not sure/don't know what to do, we can help: