More than one new parent is frightened when they see their little one with a trail of blood running down his or her nose. And although this is normal and part of the protective instinct of parents, it is very common and in most cases nothing to be afraid of.

What is the cause?

There are usually two causes for this problem. The first, we would say, is that the child has been picking his or her nose and has broken a small blood vessel. The second is usually that the air is too dry, which irritates and dries out the mucous membranes.

In either case it is not a serious problem and there is no significant risk of complications.

Other possible causes are allergy to an environmental agent (which is not serious either, but it is advisable to test for the allergen and treat it) or colds, in which frequent blowing of the nose can cause a rupture of some of the mucous membranes.

When to be concerned?

Nosebleeds in children should be a cause for concern when they are too frequent, if we suspect that the child may have inserted something in the nose (and it remains there), if the child bruises very easily (which may be a symptom of hemophilia and clotting problems), bleeds a lot with small wounds or bleeds commonly from parts of the body such as the gums (for the same reason), if it occurs after starting treatment with a medication, if it occurs after a fall or blow to the head, if we cannot stop it after two attempts to apply pressure for 10 minutes, if it is really heavy, or if the child feels weak, dizzy or tired.

What to do?

When a nosebleed occurs in the child, it is advisable to sit the child upright, tilt his head forward, preventing the blood from flowing down the throat, and exert pressure on the soft part of the nose (under the septum) for about 10 minutes. This should normally stop the bleeding.

After that, try to keep him from picking, blowing his nose and avoid active play for a while.

On the other hand, immediate medical attention is required when bleeding occurs in the circumstances mentioned above or if we are unable to stop the bleeding after two attempts.

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