First aid: Nosebleeds in children

When to get immediate attention

Rarely, a child who has an underlying bleeding disorder may have frequent and severe nosebleeds without any other symptoms. There are clues that may support the idea of a problem causing these nosebleeds. If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", this ought to be brought to the attention of the health care provider:

  • Is the child taking any medications? Aspirin and aspirin-containing products can cause bleeding problems as can other over-the-counter medications.
  • Have there been any other excessive bleeding episodes in the past? Bleeding problems from the circumcision, from where the umbilical cord fell off, after having dental work, tonsillectomy, or from otherwise minor cuts may be a clue to a bleeding problem. In addition, children with bleeding disorders may bruise rather easily or extensively.
  • Is there anyone in the family that has a bleeding disorder?
  • Is the nosebleeding always from both sides of the nose? In children with no bleeding tendency or family history of bleeding tendency, nosebleeds that usually occur on just one side are unlikely to be caused by a bleeding disorder. This absolutely does not mean that a nosebleed that occurs on both sides of the nose means there is a bleeding disorder. It just means that if it usually occurs on only one side, the likelihood of the nosebleed being from a bleeding disorder is rather remote.
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