1. Does this describe your child's symptoms?
- Sit up and lean forward. This will keep the blood from running down the back of the throat.
- Apply Pressure. Gently squeeze the lower soft parts of the nose against the center wall for 15 minutes. (Goal: apply continuous pressure to the bleeding point.) Use your thumb and your index finger in a pinching manner. If the bleeding continues, move your point of pressure and repeat again for another 15 minutes.
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- Bleeding from 1 or both nostrils
- No known injury
- Nosebleeds are common because of the rich blood supply of the nose. Common causes include:
- Dryness of the nasal lining (e.g., from forced air furnace in winter)
- Antihistamines (Reason: they also dry the nose)
- Vigorous nose blowing
- Ibuprofen and aspirin (Reason: increase bleeding tendency)
- Suctioning the nose can sometimes cause bleeding
- Picking or rubbing the nose
- Predisposing factors that make the nasal lining more fragile: nasal allergies, colds and sinus infections
2. When to Call Your Doctor
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
- Age under 1 year old
- New-onset nosebleeds are occurring frequently
- Hard-to-stop nosebleeds are a recurrent chronic problem
- Easy bleeding present in other family members
Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If
- Fainted or too weak to stand
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You think your child has a serious injury
- Bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure applied correctly and tried twice
- New skin bruises or bleeding gums not caused by an injury are also present
- Large amount of blood has been lost
- 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
Parent Care at Home If
- Mild nosebleed and you don't think your child needs to be seen
3. HOME CARE ADVICE FOR NOSEBLEED
- Nosebleeds are common.
- You should be able to stop the bleeding if you use the correct technique.
- Apply Pressure:
- Gently squeeze the soft parts of the lower nose against the center wall for 10 minutes. This should apply continuous pressure to 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.
- Insert Gauze:
- If pressure alone fails, insert a gauze wet with a few decongestant nose drops (e.g., nonprescription Afrin). (Reason: The gauze helps to apply pressure and nose drops shrink the blood vessels).
- If not available or less than one year old, use petroleum jelly applied to gauze.
- Repeat the process of gently squeezing the lower soft parts of the nose for 10 minutes.
Prevent Recurrent Nosebleeds:
- If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier to keep the nose from drying out.
- Apply petroleum jelly to the center wall of the nose 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.
- Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen (Reason: increase bleeding tendency).
- Expected Course: Over 99% of nosebleeds will stop following 10 minutes of direct pressure if you press on the right spot. After swallowing blood from a nosebleed, your child may vomit a little blood or pass a dark stool tomorrow.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Unable to stop bleeding with 20 minutes of direct pressure
- Your child becomes worse
- And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.
- 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: 9/15/2011 12:00:00 AM
- Last Revised: 8/1/2011 3:12:31 PM
- Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
- Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Swedish Kids Symptom Checker is designed especially for these times. The interactive iPhone application can help you make appropriate decisions on what level of care, if any, is needed and how to provide symptom relief for minor illnesses and injuries you can manage on your own.