Skip to main content

Nosebleeds in Children: Here's What To Do

Nosebleeds among kids may be scary, as much as it is worrying, but it is actually a common occurrence among kids 3 to 10 years of age. These episodes usually happen when the weather is hot and humid, and the child is not drinking a lot of fluids. Each incident typically lasts around 10 minutes, and anything prolonged will require immediate medical attention. However, here are things we can immediately do to relieve the situation (not to mention the stress our child will be feeling whenever his/her nose bleeds):

  1. Keep yourself and your child calm

Reassuring your child that it is a normal thing and it is due to the weather is important to relieve anxiety. As blood can be something stressful for even adults to look at, a child may not know what to make of the situation and start thinking about scary thoughts such as visitations to the hospital, having their nose cut open by surgeons, etc. Therefore, we should first make sense of the situation to them, and keep them calm and steady before administering the next course of treatment to stem the bleeding. It is also crucial to ensure that the child is not crying during the episode as crying not only increases stress levels, but may distort the airflow inside his/her nasal passage as there will also be mucus and tears other than blood that you need to worry about.

  1. Position your child properly

As the blood oozes downwards from the nose, it is a natural reaction to tilt the child’s head upwards facing the ceiling. However, according to the experts, this action may cause the blood to flow down to the back of the throat (not exactly where we want it to go) and may cause gagging and vomiting. Therefore, the right position to put your child in is upright (either sitting on a chair or on your lap), having him/her lean his/her head forward a little, and leaving all the blood flowing downwards from the nose. Remember, the bleeding will stop, so let it all out. It’s the safest way to go compared to having it held back inside and flowing to places we don’t want it to be flowing to.

  1. Apply light pressure on the nose

Right after the child has been positioned properly, use tissue or a wet handkerchief (preferably dark in colour otherwise washing it will be tedious) to apply it on the nose where the blood is flowing. Gently press it on the soft part of the nose for a good part of 10 minutes so that all blood is cleared from inside. However, there is a risk that bleeding may still persists after the 10 minutes is up, so it’s best to wait for a couple of minutes and wipe off the residue inside the nose (gently of course) to ensure that that’s all the blood there is.

During the 10 minutes, it is advisable to have a change of tissue/handkerchief/cloth as the blood may wet the entire surface during the process and cause dripping onto the floor if there is too much flowing out.

  1. The aftermath

Depending on the severity of the blood flow that you have just witnessed, you can opt to either monitor things further and see if it occurs again anytime soon, or if there is too frequent an occurrence for comfort, or you may choose to take your child to a doctor right away. Either way, discourage your child from habits that can potentially hurt their nose like picking and rubbing as there is a thin membrane in it that protects our nose from external elements like dust, etc.

In all, nose bleeds can be worrying as it can be a symptom to something more sinister. However, in most cases it is innocuous as the child is still growing and the nose is still forming itself, therefore it is vulnerable to elements such as weather changes, dry air, dust, etc. We should all know how to handle it when it happens, and be prepared with follow up action to ensure that these episodes are dealt with properly to prevent further damage.