Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are common in kids 3 to 10 years old and are often the result of nose-picking or dry air. The nose is an area of the body that contains many tiny blood vessels that can break easily. There are two types of nosebleeds, anterior and posterior, depending on whether the bleeding is coming from the front or back of the nose.

Anterior Nosebleeds

Anterior nosebleeds are the most common kind of nosebleed. They begin in the lower part of the septum, the semi-rigid wall that separates the two nostrils of the nose. Anterior nosebleeds come from the front of the nose with blood flow coming out of one nostril when the patient is sitting or standing.

What Causes Anterior Nosebleeds?

The main cause of anterior nosebleeds is dry air. They are common in dry climates or during the winter months when dry, heated indoor air dehydrates the nasal membranes. This dryness may result in crusting, cracking, and bleeding.

Other causes of anterior nosebleeds include the common cold, which irritates the lining of the nose, especially with repeated nose blowing; and allergies where the use of prescription medications to control symptoms can dry out the nasal membranes and cause nosebleeds.

Posterior Nosebleeds

More rarely, a nosebleed can begin high and deep within the nose and flow down the back of the mouth and throat, even if the patient is sitting or standing. (These are more common in adults than children.) Obviously, when lying down, even anterior (front of the nasal cavity) nosebleeds may seem to flow toward the back of the throat, especially if coughing or blowing the nose. It is important to try to make the distinction between the anterior and posterior nosebleed since posterior nosebleeds are often more severe and almost always require a physician’s care.

What Causes Posterior Nosebleeds?

Posterior nosebleeds are more likely to occur in older people, persons with high blood pressure, and in cases of injury to the nose or face.

What Can You Do?

If your child has a nosebleed, follow these guidelines

● Have your child sit up with his or her head tilted slightly forward. Do not have the child lean back as this may cause gagging, coughing, or vomiting.
● Pinch the soft part of the nose at the bottom of the nostrils for at least 10 minutes.
● Have your child relax a while after a noseblood. Discourage nose-blowing, picking, or rubbing, and any rough play.

Get medical care if your child

● Has nosebleeds often
● Has put something in the nose
● Has heavy bleeding from minor wounds or bruises easily
● Has recently started a new medicine

Get emergency medical care if bleeding

● Is heavy
● Happens along with dizziness or paleness
● Continues after two or three times of applying pressure for 10 minutes each
● Is the result of a blow to the head or a fall

How Can You Prevent Future Nosebleeds?

Here are a few suggests to follow to help prevent future nosebleeds

● Use saline (saltwater) nasal spray or drops to prevent dryness in the nose. You may also use petroleum jelly or an antibiotic ointment on the inside edges of the nostrils.
● Run a cool-mist humidifier in your child’s bedroom, especially if the air in your home is dry.
● Discourage nose picking. Keep your child’s fingernails short.

What Are The Treatment Options for Nosebleeds?

Your ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor will examine the nose using an endoscope (a tube with a light for seeing the inside of the nose), prior to making a treatment recommendation. Usually, most chronic nosebleeds can be managed with a simple cauterization in the office, which will permanently remove the vessel that causes the bleeding. More rarely, packing may be needed.

If frequent nosebleeds are a problem, call ENT of Parker at (303) 840-9690 for a consultation. Dr. William Dickey has special training in the cauterization technique, which is a more permanent solution and avoids the discomfort of nasal packing (more common in urgent care, or ER settings).