Heads-up on Bloody Noses

Parents have been quite nosy recently with lots of questions about their children getting nosebleeds during the winter.  Well, the clot thickens (so to speak) so let me provide some information on this topic. 

Nosebleeds are probably as common as the common cold and are usually caused by nasal passages being exposed to dry air during the winter season. Recurrent colds and allergies can also make the inside lining of the nose quite raw, cracked and crusted, allowing blood vessels to come to the surface of the nasal lining which can lead to bleeding.

Most nosebleeds can easily be managed at home by doing the following: 

It is not a good idea to re-blow the nose after this, or it will disturb the new clot that has successfully formed. A cold compress or ice pack to the nose can also help stop the bleeding. 

How can you prevent nose bleeds from occurring?  Humidifying the air in your home will help, as will applying vaseline to the inside of the nose to keep the lining moist and to prevent irritation.  Picking the nose will also not improve the situation, so remember to keep their fingernails short if they do pick, and remind your child they can pick their friends, but they should not pick their nose or their friend’s nose.  

When should you worry about a nosebleed?

If this is the case, talk to your pediatrician who will want to examine your child’s nose and if necessary perform some additional studies.

Hopefully, tips like this will stop-up any concerns you have and prevent you from seeing red the next time you are worried about your child’s nose bleeds.

Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch "First with Kids" weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with Kids video archives at http://www.FletcherAllen.org/firstwithkids