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Health Tips for Parents

 
2011 Issues

Why is my child getting nosebleeds?

06/01/2011

HT2011-Nose BleedsMany 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 Shahram Yazdani, M.D., 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, such as over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays, can make the blood vessels in the walls of the nose fragile and prone to breaking down.

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 who are experiencing nosebleeds, may benefit from sleeping with a humidifier. For younger children, parents should discourage their children from picking their nose and can even cover their hands with socks or mittens before going to bed.

During a nosebleed, it is also important to not tilt the head back or have the child lie down during a nosebleed, as the position may cause the child 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.

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 doctor,” 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.”

Three simple steps to stop a nose bleed:

  • Stay calm.
  • 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.

 

This information is provided courtesy of the pediatricians at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. UCLA Health pediatricians are conveniently located in your neighborhood. In addition to our Children’s Health Center in Westwood, we have offices in Brentwood, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. All health and health-related information contained in this publication is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a healthcare professional.





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