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.
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.
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.