Nevertheless, it's important for parents to know why nosebleeds happen, what to do when they happen, and what can be done to prevent them.
Nosebleeds are caused by injury to the nose, usually from trauma or from nose-picking. They tend to decrease in frequency as children get older. Children with recurring nosebleeds often have relatives who have the same problem, suggesting that there is an inherited tendency to get them.
Nosebleeds are more common during the winter months when the dry air irritates the inside lining of the nose, resulting in bleeding. Children with large adenoids, nasal allergies, and chronic sinusitis tend to have more nosebleeds than those who do not. High pressure is also associated with nosebleeds, but this is rare in children.
While most nosebleeds stop on their own within a few minutes, clamping the nose between the thumb and index finger, or pressing the forefinger against the side that is bleeding will help.
The head should be tilted forward, not backward. Tilting the head backward will cause the blood to trickle down the child's throat, possibly resulting in coughing, choking, or swallowing of the blood. In most children, gentle nose compression or pressure will stop the bleeding easily.
If the bleeding continues, you should see your doctor. The nose may need to be packed, or cauterized with silver nitrate. If your child seems to bleed easily, or bleeds more than usual, this may be a sign of a clotting disorder. He may need to be evaluated for a bleeding disorder and referred to a hematologist.
Nosebleeds can be prevented by making sure children wear appropriate face protection during sports, and by teaching kids not to pick their nose. During the winter months, make sure to maintain humidity in your house at about 40-percent. If your house tends to be dry, a humidifier can be used to bring the humidity up to this level. If your child seems to get a lot of nosebleeds, you can also apply petroleum gel into the nostrils at night to keep the inside lining of the nose moist.
Nosebleeds will often stop on their own, and these tips may help you avoid a trip to the doctor or to the emergency department. If nosebleeds are frequent or severe, it's always best to check it out with your doctor.