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What Causes Nosebleeds in Children?

Terrie Brockmann
Terrie Brockmann

A nosebleed, medically referred to as epistaxis, occurs when one or more of the small blood vessels in the lining inside the nose burst. Common reasons for nosebleeds in children include blowing the nose too hard, a hit to the nose, or nose picking. A doctor should examine the child if nosebleeds are frequent or bleed for longer than 10 to 15 minutes. Some of the medical reasons may include allergies, chronic sinusitis, or bacterial infection. Usually, childhood nosebleeds are common and not life threatening.

One of the most frequent causes of nosebleeds in children is the bad habit of nose picking. Either the child picks at a scab, causing it to bleed, or he or she scratches the inner nose lining with a long or jagged nail. Either way, this habit may introduce impetigo or another bacterial or viral infection and should be discouraged.

Nosebleeds may be caused by dry air, which can be treated with the use of a humidifier.
Nosebleeds may be caused by dry air, which can be treated with the use of a humidifier.

The same things that cause nosebleeds in adults generally cause nosebleeds in children. Athletes often get nosebleeds when they experience a nose injury. The veins in the nose lining are very close to the surface and bleed easily. Unless there is other evidence of injury, such as a broken nose or head injury, usually this type of nosebleed does not need to alarm anyone. If it continues for more than a reasonable amount of time, have a doctor check it out.

Nose picking by children can cause nosebleeds.
Nose picking by children can cause nosebleeds.

Dry air can cause the nose lining membrane to dry out and frequently causes nosebleeds in children. Allergies are another reason for nosebleeds. In either case, it may be helpful to seek a doctor's advice. Often a doctor will suggest a vaporizer or humidifier for dry air and tests and medication for allergies. Sometimes saline nose sprays or nasal gels rehydrate overly dried nasal passages.

In rare cases, blood disorders, such as hemophilia, may cause nosebleeds in children. Usually, there are other signs of serious disease. Some children have high blood pressure, though the condition is rare in children. High blood pressure in children and adults may contribute to nosebleeds. Adolescent girls who are ready to start menstruation may experience an increase in nosebleeds.

Some children tend to have more nosebleeds than other children do, and sometimes this can be contributed to a family tendency. Other children may have large adenoids. If a child suffers from frequent nosebleeds, the doctor may elect to cauterize the weak blood vessel or vessels. Many times, a cause is never found and the nosebleeds stop happening without anyone knowing why they started or why they stopped. The basic rule of thumb is that if several nosebleeds are happening each week or if they last more than 10 minutes and are uncontrollable, a pediatrician should be consulted.

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Discussion Comments


@Fa5t3r - Even if it's only nose picking, it's still something that should be addressed.

I will point out that most of the time people deal with nose bleeds the wrong way. I was always told to tilt my head back and wait for it to stop, which is the exact opposite from what you should do.

Get your child to tilt their head forward and if any blood gets into their mouth, to spit it out rather than trying to swallow it. They should also pinch their nose closed to put pressure on the cut.

If the blood is pouring out or coming from both nostrils and won't stop, that's when you should go to a clinic or hospital. Blood from both nostrils means the injury is quite high up the sinus and could be something more serious.


@browncoat - If someone in the house is reacting to low humidity, these days you can get a humidifier for fairly cheap, rather than having to worry about putting out water everywhere.

It's a lot more hygienic, because standing water in hot places can end up becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

If someone is having frequent nose bleeds though, you should probably take them to the doctor to get checked. Don't just take it for granted that it's all attributable to the climate, because it can also be a sign of something serious.


When I was little we moved from the coast to Colorado and my sister had quite a few little nosebleeds. Apparently it was because of the change of humidity from what we were used to, although it never seemed to bother me very much.

My mother got into the habit of putting warm pans of water around the house so that it would help my sister out a little bit, but we spent so much time outdoors that summer I'm not sure it made much of a difference. She did eventually adjust though, around about the time when we moved back to the coast!

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    • Nosebleeds may be caused by dry air, which can be treated with the use of a humidifier.
      By: StockPhotosArt
      Nosebleeds may be caused by dry air, which can be treated with the use of a humidifier.
    • Nose picking by children can cause nosebleeds.
      By: Jan H. Andersen
      Nose picking by children can cause nosebleeds.