Nosebleeds are common in kids. Here’s what you need for home care.
A dry nose—from not drinking enough, indoor heating, or dry winter air—makes nosebleeds worse. Antihistamines will also dry the nose.
Add a runny nose from a cold or allergies, and the wear and tear on the tender lining of the nose is just too much. And that’s before kids pick at dried or crusted mucus in the nose.
If your child has a nosebleed, pinch the nose just below the bony ridge of the nose. Most nosebleeds are from damage to the small blood vessels in the lower part of the nose. You can often look inside with a flashlight and see the damage on either side of the nasal septum (the bony ridge that separates the nose into two nostrils). Do not put tissue or other objects in the nose.
Nosebleeds that stop within 20 minutes of applying pressure are generally okay. If there is trauma to the nose or the bleeding doesn’t stop, get medical help since this may indicate that the larger blood vessels in the upper part of the nose are damaged.
Prevent nosebleeds by making sure your child drinks a lot of fluid. If the lips are chapped, the nose may be too inside. Run a cool mist humidifier at home (pediatricians don’t recommend steam vaporizers because of the risk of children burning themselves).
Keep the nose clean and moisturized with saline spray or saline nasal gel. Blow gently. It’s also okay to sniff instead of blow to clear the nose.
Children can get 6 to 12 viral infections a year—a lot—and as they grow up, they get fewer and fewer so nosebleeds associated with colds usually go away.
Listen to the RadioMD interview with Dr. Asta about Winter Cold Woes here.