Nosebleeds in Children: Care Instructions

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Picture of how to stop a nosebleed

Overview

Nosebleeds are common, especially with colds or allergies. Many things can cause a nosebleed.

Some nosebleeds stop on their own with pressure, others need packing, and some get cauterized (sealed). If your child has gauze or other packing materials in their nose, you will need to follow up with the doctor to have the packing removed. Your child may need more treatment if nosebleeds occur often.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If your child gets another nosebleed:
    • Have your child gently blow their nose to clear any clots.
    • Have your child sit up and tilt their head slightly forward to keep blood from going down the throat.
    • Use your thumb and index finger to pinch the front, soft part of the nose shut for at least 15 minutes. Use a clock. Do not check to see if the bleeding has stopped before the 15 minutes are up. If the bleeding has not stopped, pinch the nose shut for another 10 to 15 minutes. If your child is over the age of 6, using a nasal decongestant spray such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) before pinching the nose can also help to stop the bleeding. Check with your doctor first. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • When the bleeding has stopped, tell your child not to pick, rub, or blow their nose for several hours to keep it from bleeding again.

To prevent nosebleeds

  • Teach your child not to blow their nose too hard.
  • Make sure that your child avoids lifting or straining after a nosebleed.
  • Raise your child's head on a pillow while they are sleeping.
  • Put inside your child's nose a thin layer of a saline- or water-based nasal gel. An example is NasoGel. Put it on the septum, which divides the nostrils. This will prevent dryness that can cause nosebleeds.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier to add moisture to your child's bedroom. Follow the directions for cleaning the machine.
  • Talk to your doctor about stopping any other medicines your child is taking. Some medicines may make your child more likely to get a nosebleed.
  • Do not give cold medicines or nasal sprays without first talking to your doctor. They can make your child's nose dry.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child's nose is still bleeding after you have pinched the nose shut 2 times for 15 minutes each time (30 minutes total).
  • There is a lot of blood running down the back of your child's throat even after pinching the nose and tilting the head forward.
  • Your child becomes weak or lightheaded.
  • Your child has a nosebleed after a head injury.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child gets frequent nosebleeds, even if they stop.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter C848 in the search box to learn more about "Nosebleeds in Children: Care Instructions".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.