How to Stop a Nosebleed

Learn what causes nosebleeds and what to do when your child has one.

Nosebleeds are very common in children and can happen if a child picks his nose when he has a cold and nasal congestion. During a cold, the mucous membrane lining inside the nose is swollen and tender, and blood vessels can break easily. The bleeding usually comes from a little blood vessel on the septum, the wall between the nostrils, at the very front of the nose. Although it may look like a lot of blood, almost all nosebleeds will stop on their own within five minutes, and it is seldom necessary to seek medical advice.

Treatment for Nosebleeds

  1. Have the child sit up with his head bent slightly forward. Let the blood run out of the nose and down into a tissue or container.
  2. Ask the child to spit any blood out of his mouth. Do not let him swallow the blood because it can irritate the stomach and cause vomiting.
  3. Using your thumb and index finger, pinch the soft part of the child's nose just below the nasal bone. (Older children may be able to do this themselves.) Hold this grip for at least five minutes without letting go. The child will have to breathe through his mouth.

Call 911 or the doctor immediately if the child:

  • Has frequent nosebleeds.
  • Bruises easily and bleeds a lot from minor wounds.
  • Continues to bleed after two attempts to stop the bleeding.
  • Has been bleeding for more than 15 minutes.
  • Is dizzy, pale, and doesn't look right to you.
  • Has a foreign object in the nose.
  • Had a head injury or a fall that caused the nose bleeds.
  • Has a nosebleed just after taking a new medicine (some medicines can cause an increased likelihood of bleeding).

How to Prevent Nosebleeds

  • Avoid having overly dry air in the child's bedroom because it dries out the mucous membrane inside the tip of the nose. Use a humidifier or vaporizer.
  • In very dry weather, use nasal saline drops or spray to keep the nose moist. At bedtime, place a small amount of petroleum jelly on either side of the nasal septum with a cotton swab.
  • Teach the child not to pick his nose and keep his fingernails short.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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