A nose bleed is just what it sounds like: blood flowing from the nose. This can happen to anyone, but it's a frequent problem among children. In most cases, nose bleeds, even semi-frequent ones, are a normal occurrence. Still, it’s best to monitor a person's nose bleeds to make sure there's nothing unusual about the symptoms.
Causes of Nose Bleeds
Nose bleeds can occur for a variety of reasons. They can be a response to an irritant such as dry air, allergies or medications. Picking your nose or blowing it repeatedly can also lead to nose bleeds, as can injuries and blows to the nose. Nose bleeds can also be a sign of cocaine use.
The two main types of nose bleeds are anterior and posterior nose bleeds. Anterior nose bleeds, which start near the front of the nose, are usually caused by breaks in capillaries, which are very small blood vessels located in this part of the nose. A posterior nose bleed occurs at the back of the nose and can lead to blood flowing down the throat. Posterior bleeds may stem from high blood pressure or injuries and are usually more common in adults than children.
If nose bleeds are the result of dry air, using a humidifier, an ointment or saline drops may help to keep the nose moist. Also, it’s best to blow the nose lightly, rather than forcefully, to prevent bleeding. Nose bleeds that stem from sports injuries can be prevented by wearing a protective facemask.
If a nose bleed occurs, the person should stand or sit and tilt the head slightly forward. Blow it gently. Then pinch the soft, lower part of the nose between a finger and thumb and hold it for 10 minutes. If the bleeding hasn’t stopped, try it for 10 minutes more. Seek medical attention if it is still bleeding after that.
Also be on the lookout for excessive bleeding, bleeding from the mouth, paleness, sweatiness, unresponsiveness or chronic, frequent nosebleeds. These all demand more immediate medical attention.
SOURCES: KidsHealth, Nemours Foundation; American Academy of Pediatrics