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How do I stop a nosebleed?
First, stay calm and comfort your baby. Nosebleeds are very common and are rarely a cause for concern.
Seat your baby in your lap and lean him forward slightly. Using a tissue or a clean, soft washcloth, gently pinch the soft part of his nose shut. Apply gentle, constant pressure for a full ten minutes. (Resist the temptation to peek earlier to see if the bleeding has stopped.)
During this time, you might distract your baby by singing to him, looking at a book together, or watching a video (depending on his age).
After ten minutes, release the pressure and see if the bleeding has stopped. If it hasn't, pinch your baby's nose closed for another ten minutes. (If your baby seems distressed when you close his nostrils, you can try plugging just the side that's bleeding, if his nose is only bleeding from one side.)
You can also apply a cold compress to the bridge of his nose. If that doesn't do the trick, give your baby's doctor a call.
Two important tips:
- Don't tilt your baby's head back or let him lie down. Either would allow the blood to run down his throat, which tastes bad and could make him vomit.
- Don't pack his nose with cotton during or after a nosebleed. Bleeding can start right back up again when you remove the cotton and disrupt any clots that have formed.
What will the doctor do if I can't get the nosebleed to stop?
The doctor will probably look in your baby's nose with a special light to find out where the bleeding is coming from. She may put silver nitrate on the spot that's bleeding, use nose drops to constrict the blood vessels, or put cotton soaked in medication inside your baby's nose. If the bleeding is severe, the doctor may need to pack your baby's nose with gauze, but this is rarely necessary.
If your baby suffered a blow to the head or nose, the doctor will want to examine him further and keep an eye on the injury as any swelling goes down. She'll do this to make sure that he hasn't broken his nose or fractured his skull.
What causes nosebleeds?
The nose is lined with many tiny blood vessels that bleed fairly easily — especially when they become dry or irritated.
Common causes of nosebleeds include colds, allergies, and sinus infections; low humidity; and trauma (like nose picking, a foreign object in the nose, or being hit in the nose). Sometimes an anatomical problem (like an abnormal structure or growth in the nose) can cause bleeding, as can certain drugs.
Are frequent nosebleeds something to worry about?
Usually not. Children often get nosebleeds, especially in the winter months, when the air is often dry and infections are common. You may even notice dried blood on your baby's bedding in the morning if he had a nosebleed overnight. Again, in most cases there's no reason to worry.
There are instances when you'll want to talk with the doctor about your baby's nosebleeds. Call the doctor if:
- your baby gets a nosebleed following a blow to the head or nose or after a fall
- you think your baby has lost a lot of blood. Nosebleeds often look worse than they are, but if you're concerned, talk with your baby's doctor.
- your baby has just started taking a new medicine and begins to get a lot of nosebleeds
- your baby is getting nosebleeds more frequently and has a chronically stuffy nose
- your baby has nosebleeds and he bruises easily or has bleeding from other areas, like his gums
How can I prevent nosebleeds?
If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier in your baby's room at night. Discourage your baby from putting anything in his nose, and if he has a habit of putting his fingers in his nose, keep his fingernails trimmed so he's less likely to injure the lining of his nose.
Talk to your baby's doctor about appropriate treatment for allergies if you think they might be contributing to the problem. You might also ask the doctor about using saline nose drops to keep your baby's nose moist.