Nosebleed  

This Care Guide Covers:

  • Bleeding from 1 or both nostrils
  • Not caused by an injury

If not, see these topics
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First Aid - Nosebleed
First Aid - Nosebleed

When to Call Your Doctor

Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If
  • Passed out (fainted) or too weak to stand
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
  • Nosebleed that won't stop after 10 minutes of squeezing the nose correctly
  • Large amount of blood has been lost
  • New skin bruises or bleeding gums not caused by an injury also present
  • You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
  • You have other questions or concerns
  • Age under 1 year old
  • New-onset nosebleeds happen 3 or more times in a week
  • Hard-to-stop nosebleeds are a frequent problem
  • Easy bleeding is present in other family members
Parent Care at Home If
  • Mild nosebleed
Causes & Health Information

Causes

  • Nosebleeds are common because of the rich blood supply of the nose. Common causes include:
  • Dryness of the nasal lining. In the winter, forced air heating often can dry out the nose.
  • Antihistamines (Reason: Dry out the nose)
  • Vigorous nose blowing
  • Ibuprofen and aspirin (Reason: Increases bleeding tendency)
  • Suctioning the nose can sometimes cause bleeding
  • Picking or rubbing the nose
  • Predisposing factors that make the nasal lining more fragile. Examples are nasal allergies, colds and sinus infections.
CARE ADVICE FOR NOSEBLEED

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Nosebleeds are common.
    • You should be able to stop the bleeding if you use the correct technique.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Squeeze the Lower Nose:  
    • Gently squeeze the soft parts of the lower nose together. Gently press them against the center wall for 10 minutes.  This puts constant pressure on the bleeding point.  
    • Use the thumb and index finger in a pinching manner.
    • If the bleeding continues, move your point of pressure.
    • Have your child sit up and breathe through the mouth during this procedure.
    • If rebleeds, use the same technique again.
  3. Put Gauze Into the Nose:
    • If pressure alone fails, wet a gauze with a few decongestant nose drops. An example is Afrin. No prescription is needed. Insert the wet gauze into the side that is bleeding. Reason: The gauze helps to put pressure on the bleeding spot. The nose drops also shrink the blood vessels.
    • If you don't have nose drops, use petroleum jelly on the gauze. Also, use petroleum jelly if your child is under 1 year of age.
    • If you don't have gauze, use a piece of paper towel.
    • Repeat the process of gently squeezing the lower soft parts of the nose. Do this for 10 minutes.
  4. Prevent Recurrent Nosebleeds:
    • If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier to keep the nose from drying out.
    • Use petroleum jelly to the center wall of the nose. Do this twice a day to promote healing.
    • For nose blowing, blow gently.
    • For nose suctioning, don't put the suction tip very far inside. Also, move it gently.
    • Do not use aspirin and ibuprofen. Reason: Increases bleeding tendency.
  5. What to Expect:
    • Over 99% of nosebleeds will stop if you press on the right spot.
    • It may take 10 minutes of direct pressure.
    • After swallowing blood from a nosebleed, your child may vomit a little blood.
    • Your child may also pass a dark stool tomorrow from swallowed blood.
  6. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Can't stop bleeding with 10 minutes of direct pressure done correctly
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012

Last Revised: 12/11/2012

Content Set: Child Symptom Checker

Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.