Nosebleeds

Also known as: epistaxis.

What are nosebleeds?

Nosebleeds (epistaxis) are a common problem in children (frequently between the ages of 2-10 years; rare in infants) and while causing parental anxiety are usually not serious. If a child has recurrent nosebleeds or they are difficult to stop, he/she should be examined/investigated by a pediatric ENT physician. Nosebleeds can occur for a variety of reasons and range in severity.
 

What causes nosebleeds?

The inner lining of the nose has many blood vessels that lie close to the surface of the nose, making it easy to damage. In children nosebleeds are commonly due to “nose picking”. Other causes of damage to the lining of the nose include rhinitis (the “common cold”), allergy involving the nose (hay fever), exposure to warm dry air and some medications. Other less common causes are abnormalities in the blood clotting mechanism, accidental ingestion of medications which “thin” the blood, abnormal blood vessels (vascular malformations), tumors of the nose and leukemia.
 

What are the symptoms of nosebleeds?

Spontaneous mild to severe occasional bleeding from one side of the nose which usually stops on its own. Sometimes blood can drip into the back of the throat and the child will spit up blood or swallow it and then vomit blood. Rarely, if bleeding is severe a fast heart rate, difficulty breathing, dizziness, weakness, fainting and/or confusion may occur.
 

What are nosebleeds care options?

Most nosebleeds can be treated with self-care, which involves leaning forward and pinching the nose until the bleeding stops (usually within 10-20 minutes). Patients should avoid blowing the nose or doing other activities that may trigger the nosebleed into starting again. If the nosebleeds are severe, recurrent or won’t stop easily, the patient should seek medical attention.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 6/21/2019 2:23:54 AM