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Nosebleed  
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First Aid - Nosebleed
First Aid - Nosebleed

Definition
  • Bleeding from 1 or both nostrils

Causes

  • Usually caused by dryness of the nasal lining or vigorous nose blowing

If not, see these topics

When to Call Your Doctor

Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If
  • Fainted or too weak to stand
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
  • You think your child has a serious injury
  • Bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure applied correctly and tried twice
  • Bleeding recurs 3 or more times in 24 hours despite direct pressure
  • Skin bruises or bleeding gums not caused by an injury are also present
  • Large amount of blood has been lost
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
  • You think your child needs to be seen
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
  • You have other questions or concerns
  • Age under 1 year old
  • Hard-to-stop nosebleeds are a recurrent problem
  • Easy bleeding present in other family members
Parent Care at Home If
  • Mild nosebleed and you don't think your child needs to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR NOSEBLEED

  1. Apply Pressure:  
    • Gently squeeze the soft parts of the lower nose against the center wall for 10 minutes.  This should apply continuous pressure to the bleeding point.  
    • Use the thumb and and index finger in a pinching manner. If the bleeding continues, move your point of pressure.
    • Have your child sit up and breathe through the mouth during this procedure.
  2. Insert Gauze:
    • If pressure alone fails, insert a gauze wet with a few decongestant nose drops (e.g., nonprescription Afrin). (Reason: The gauze helps to apply pressure and nose drops shrink the blood vessels).
    • If not available or less than one year old, use petroleum jelly applied to gauze.
    • Repeat the process of gently squeezing the nose for 10 minutes.
  3. Prevent Recurrent Nosebleeds:
    • If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier to keep the nose from drying out.
    • Apply petroleum jelly to the center wall of the nose twice a day to promote healing.
    • For noseblowing, blow gently.
    • For nose suctioning, don't put the suction tip very far inside. Also, move it gently.
  4. Expected Course: Over 99% of nosebleeds will stop following 10 minutes of direct pressure if the parent is pressing on the right spot. After swallowing blood from a nosebleed, your child may vomit a little blood or pass a dark stool tomorrow.
  5. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Unable to stop bleeding with 20 minutes of direct pressure
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

Last Reviewed: 1/19/2009

Last Revised: 8/5/2007

Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Online

Copyright 1994-2009 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

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