Should Your Child See a Doctor?
Is this your child's symptom?
- Bleeding from 1 or both nostrils
- Not caused by an injury
Causes of Nosebleeds
Nosebleeds are common because of the rich blood supply of the nose. Common causes include:
- Spontaneous Nosebleed. Most nosebleeds start up without a known cause.
- Rubbing. Rubbing or picking the nose is the most common known cause. It's hard to not touch or rub the nose.
- Blowing. Blowing the nose too hard can cause a nose bleed.
- Suctioning. Suctioning the nose can sometimes cause bleeding. This can happen if the suction tip is put in too far.
- Sinus Infections. The main symptoms are lots of dry snot and a blocked nose. This leads to extra nose blowing and picking. The sinus infection is more often viral than bacterial.
- Nose Allergies. The main symptom is a very itchy nose. This leads to extra rubbing and blowing.
- Dry Air. Dryness of the nasal lining makes it more likely to bleed. In the winter, forced air heating often can dry out the nose.
- Allergy Medicines. These help the nasal symptoms, but also dry out the nose.
- Ibuprofen and Aspirin. These medicines increase the bleeding tendency. Aspirin is not used in children.
- Bleeding Disorder Serious. This means the blood platelets or clotting factors are missing or not working right. A bleeding disorder should be suspected if the nosebleed can't be stopped. Excessive bleeding from the gums or with minor cuts is also a clue. Bleeding disorders are a rare cause of frequent nosebleeds.
When to Call for Nosebleed
Call 911 Now
- Passed out fainted or too weak to stand
- You think your child has a life-threatening emergency
Call Doctor Now or Go to ER
- Nosebleed that won't stop after 10 minutes of squeezing the nose correctly
- Large amount of blood has been lost
- New skin bruises or bleeding gums not caused by an injury also present
- High-risk child such as with low platelets or other bleeding disorder
- You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent
Call Doctor Within 24 Hours
- You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
Call Doctor During Office Hours
- Age under 1 year old
- New onset nosebleeds happen 3 or more times in a week
- Hard-to-stop nosebleeds are a frequent problem
- Easy bleeding is present in other family members
- You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home
Estimated Urgent Care Wait Times
These are estimated wait times for each Urgent Care clinic. Wait times are typically longest during the first hour we are open and may not be reflected immediately in the online wait time. Traffic and wait times may be affected by local events or bridge closures. Please check current traffic conditions and advisory alerts on the Seattle Department of Transportation website.
Wait times may also vary depending on the severity of the illnesses we are treating. If your child’s illness or injury is life-threating, call 911.
Care Advice for Nosebleed
- What You Should Know About Nosebleeds:
- Nosebleeds are common.
- You should be able to stop the bleeding if you use the correct technique.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Squeeze the Lower Nose:
- Gently squeeze the soft parts of the lower nose together. Gently press them against the center wall for 10 minutes. This puts constant pressure on the bleeding point.
- Use the thumb 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.
- If rebleeds, use the same technique again.
- Put Gauze Into the Nose:
- If pressure alone fails, wet a gauze with a few decongestant nose drops. An example is Afrin. No prescription is needed.Insert the wet gauze into the side that is bleeding. Reason: The gauze helps to put pressure on the bleeding spot. The nose drops also shrink the blood vessels.
- If you don't have nose drops, use petroleum jelly such as Vaseline. Put some on the gauze. Also, use petroleum jelly if your child is under 1 year of age.
- If you don't have gauze, use a piece of paper towel.
- Repeat the process of gently squeezing the lower soft parts of the nose. Do this for 10 minutes.
- Prevent Recurrent Nosebleeds:
- If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier to keep the nose from drying out.
- Use a little petroleum jelly such as Vaseline. Apply to the center wall of the nose. Do this twice a day to promote healing.
- For nose blowing, blow gently.
- For nose suctioning, don't put the suction tip very far inside. Also, move it gently.
- Do not use aspirin and ibuprofen. Reason: Increases bleeding tendency.
- What to Expect:
- Over 99% of nosebleeds will stop if you press on the right spot.
- It may take 10 minutes of direct pressure.
- After swallowing blood from a nosebleed, your child may vomit a little blood.
- Your child may also pass a dark stool tomorrow from swallowed blood.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Can't stop bleeding with 10 minutes of direct pressure done correctly
- You think your child needs to be seen
- 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 to 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.
Last Reviewed: 09/01/2012
Last Revised: 09/01/2012
Copyright 1994-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.