Family Health Magazine - FIRST AID
How to treat a bleeding nose
You’ve just settled your four year-old into bed, and shortly afterward you hear “I’ve got a nosebleed!” To a parent, nosebleeds are often one of the great puzzles of childhood (and adulthood, too). While often startling in the amount of blood produced, most nosebleeds are minor - though messy - problems and easily handled with basic first aid. While some come on logically after a blow to the nose or the face, a lot appear to have no visible cause. In many cases, our western Canadian climate is to blame.
If your child seems prone to nosebleeds, make a note of when and where they occur. The more common causes of nosebleeds are:
- infections in the nose such as the common cold and sinusitis
- dryness and cracks of the mucous membranes of the nose. This is familiar to anyone who lives in cold, dry northern climates found in much of Western Canada.
- injury to the nose resulting from sporting activities, childhood rough play or more serious accident
- nose picking or inserting foreign objects in the nose, especially common with younger children
In most cases of nosebleed, the bleeding comes from the front of the nose and can be controlled by first aid:
- Firmly compress the entire fleshy area below the bridge of the nose with the thumb and index finger, for about 10 minutes or until bleeding stops. In the case of smaller children, pressure should be applied by an adult.
- it run down the throat which can cause gagging or even an upset stomach later.
- Loosen clothing around the patient’s neck and chest. Keep the person quiet to avoid increased bleeding. Encourage breathing through the mouth and tell the person to avoid blowing the nose for a few hours so that blood clots will not be disturbed. If bleeding does not stop with first aid, or if it starts again, get medical attention.
- Do not try to stop nose bleeding resulting from a head injury. Allow the blood to drain and get immediate medical help. Do not put tissues into the nose.
While frequent nosebleeds can be one sign of high blood pressure or other underlying disease, most are the result of obvious environmental conditions, particularly dry air.
Over the counter products like Rhinaris™, Secaris™, Vaseline™ or nasal saline sprays or drops can be easily used to coat the mucous membranes and prevent dryness. If a child or adult is prone to nosebleeds in the colder weather, you may wish to try one of these. Humidifying the house or even just the bedroom may also help prevent nosebleeds that occur more frequently in the winter. If your child suffers from allergies, sinusitis or a cold, nosebleeds may be prevented by not blowing the nose too hard.
Obviously, children should be discouraged from picking their noses, and this may prevent one cause of sudden nosebleeds in your younger child. If your child has frequent nosebleeds and the cause is not evident, discuss the problem with your family doctor.
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specified medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physician promptly. © Copyright 2015, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 2S6 [CH_FHd01]