Frequent Nose Bleeds

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by Dr. Christopher Haines

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07.12.2021

My child frequently gets nose bleeds in the spring. Can you tell me what is going on and are there any tricks to prevent them from happening?
Janet L (Des Moines)

Thank you for the question Janet. We hope your child is doing well and thank you for being a part of Blue Emerald Wellness where we hope to empower parents with health for their child.

First, nose bleeds as you know are common. There are occasionally nose bleeds that are concerning to a physician but this is rare. Concerning symptoms include; frequent, unable to stop using the proper technique, other associated symptoms including pallor, easy bruising, fevers, weight loss. However they are more common in the spring with seasonal allergies. You should start by discussing with your child’s physician and possibly trial over the counter seasonal allergy medications (pharmacist can help you find the right medication). In addition, there are a few tricks that might help you.

Cut your child’s fingernails and file the edges smooth (no sharp edges)

The number one cause of nose bleeds is fingers in the nose/nose picking.

Most parents will begin in the ER saying “my child doesn’t pick his/her nose” That may be correct but is very common during the night when they are sleeping. As the night goes on, allergens (pollon dust etc) that gets kicked up during the day into the air begins to settle. These allergens settle to bed height at about 2-4am resulting in a itchy nose, rubbing and sometimes picking. And sharp nails will cut the inside of the nose.

Vaseline coating to the outside of the nasal entry

Small coating allows finger to pass through pick up some Vaseline and prevents cutting or irritation

Saline spray a couple times a day (over the counter) to help the mucosa stay moist.

Last but not least – how do you stop nose bleeds.

Pinch the soft part of the nose and apply pressure. At the same time lean the child forward and never lean back (this will cause blood to be swallowed and can lead to vomting). Once you have applied pressure – hold for at least 5 minutes without looking. If you look there is a high likelihood that the nose will re-bleed.

If this doesn’t work use ice on both sides of the nose while applying pressure (never put ice directly on skin as it can cause burns).

After the bleeding has stopped, avoid nose blowing for 24 hours

Begin nasal saline spray the next day (always point the nozzle away from the middle or septum of the nose)

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