Nosebleeds in Children

Nosebleeds in Children

Does Your Kids Experience Nosebleed Frequently in Singapore?

Medically referred to as epistaxis, nosebleeds occur most commonly amongst kids between 2 to 10 years of age in Singapore. Although nosebleeds can be alarming, it is rarely serious and naturally recovers on its own.

There are two kinds of nosebleeds: anterior nosebleed and posterior nosebleed. Anterior nosebleeds happen when the capillaries, or very small blood vessels, inside the front of the nose burst and bleed. Posterior nosebleeds refers to when blood flows backwards into the throat even while seated or standing. Posterior nosebleeds are more common in older adults who suffer from high blood pressure, and people who have had nose or face injuries.

What causes Nosebleeds in Children? 

Anterior nosebleeds are most commonly a result of dry air. Dry air, whether due to dry weather or heated indoors, dries the nasal lining. This causes crusts that itch and and bleed when your child picks or rubs his nose when it feels congested or itchy. 

Other possible causes of anterior nosebleeds include:

  • Common colds can irritate the nasal lining with the friction of repeatedly blowing your nose resulting in bleeding
  • Medications prescribed to manage allergies can dry out the nasal lining and lead to nosebleeds
  • Injuries to the nose directly can cause bleeding due to impact

What should I do if my Kids has a Nosebleed? 

Most nosebleeds can be stopped at home. However, you are advised to seek medical attention if your child suffers from nosebleeds more than once a week. Sometimes, children with ongoing allergies or who contract colds frequently might also experience perpetually irritated blood vessels inside the nose which do not heal.

While nosebleeds can cause quite a scare, try to stay composed as you follow these steps to treat your child’s nosebleeds:

  • Firstly, have your child lean forward so that he does not accidentally swallow any blood. Prepare a basin, so that your child can spit out any blood that enters his throat. Have your child gently blow his nose to remove the large clots from the nose.
  • Secondly, gently pinch the upper portion of the soft part of your child’s nose for 10 minutes straight. During these 10 minutes, your child should breathe through his mouth.

If the bleeding continues after 10 minutes, you may apply petroleum jelly or vasoconstrictor nose drops onto a piece of gauze and insert it into the nostril for 10 minutes. Continue applying pressure to your child’s nose before removing the gauze for 10 minutes as well. 

For nosebleeds caused by injuries, you should seek medical attention if the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes. In general, if your child is losing too much blood, starts feeling light-headed, or the bleeding lasts beyond 30 minutes, you should consult your doctor.

For bleeding not due to sinusitis or allergies, your doctor may order tests to determine the cause. It is very rare that nose bleeding is a symptom of a bleeding disorder or abnormally formed blood vessels.

What not to do when your Child has a Nosebleed?

  • Avoid applying pressure to the bony segment of the nose or or packing the nose with anything as the nosebleed is likely to resume once the packing is removed
  • Refrain from applying a damp cloth to the forehead, back of the neck, bridge of the nose, or under the upper lip
  • To prevent re-bleeding, do not pick or blow your nose and remain upright for several hours
  • Keep your head above the level of your heart

Are Nosebleeds painful?

Nosebleeds are not painful but the cause of the nosebleed might be accompanied with some degree of pain. For example, physically hurting your nose to the point of a nosebleed would cause some pain.

How to prevent Nosebleeds for Kids in Singapore?

As most nosebleeds are caused by nose-picking or irritation due to dry weather, most nosebleeds are minor. However, you may adopt the following steps to reduce your child’s likelihood of getting nosebleeds:

  • Apply a little bit of petroleum jelly twice a day to the centre wall inside the nose
  • Put 2 to 3 drops of water into each nostril, before blowing the nose
  • Use a saltwater nasal spray

In a very dry climate, a humidifier can help moisten the air in the bedroom and reduce the chances of your child getting an overly dry nose.

Avoid Aspirin, however, because it can increase the tendency of the body to bleed easily for up to a week and prolong each nosebleed.

How are Nosebleeds in Kids treated in Singapore? 

In children, two types of cautery are commonly used:

  • If your child has prominent blood vessels inside the front part of the nose, silver nitrate is applied.
  • Larger blood vessels can be treated with electrocautery using radio frequency. This treatment is carried out under sedation at the day surgery centre.

If your child has nasal allergies, antihistamines can help alleviate the itching, and hence bleeding caused by excessive scratching.

Allergy & Sinus ENT Specialist Centre
Head & Neck Surgery Singapore

Dr Soma Subramaniam
Consultant ENT Specialist and Surgeon
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