Nosebleeds are a condition commonly seen in children. Most cases resolve spontaneously and represent nothing more than a nuisance to the parent and child. Occasionally nosebleeds become persistent and may require specific treatment. In rare instances, a nosebleed may be the presenting symptom of a serious local or generalized disease.
Nosebleeds are often the result of extremely dry nasal linings, which lose the protective layer of mucus. This leads to the tissue becoming fragile which then has a tendency to bleed following the slightest trauma. Nosebleeds are most common during the winter because of the increased incidence of colds leading to swollen nasal tissues with enlarged blood vessels. In addition, central heating during the winter tends to dry the nasal linings.
When a nosebleed occurs, it is important to help the child to remain calm. Then:
More severe cases with frequent bleeding and significant blood loss may require more aggressive treatment. A chemical cauterization (burning) of the enlarged blood vessels using a silver nitrate stick can be performed in the doctor’s office. If bleeding recurs after an attempt at local cautery, more aggressive measures may be required including electrical cautery or surgery to tie off the bleeding blood vessel is possible. Surgical intervention is extremely rare in children.