Nose Bleed

Symptom Definition

  • Bleeding from 1 or both nostrils.
  • Usually caused by dryness of the nasal lining or vigorous nose blowing

See More Appropriate Topic

Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If

  • Fainted or too weak to stand following large blood loss

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  • You think your child has a serious injury
  • Bleeding does not stop after 20 minutes of direct pressure
  • Bleeding recurs 3 or more times in 24 hours despite direct pressure
  • Skin bruises or bleeding gums not caused by an injury are also present
  • Large amount of blood has been lost

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) If

  • You think your child needs to be seen

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If

  • You have other questions or concerns
  • Age under 1 year old
  • Hard-to-stop nosebleeds are a recurrent problem
  • Easy bleeding present in other family members

Parent Care at Home If

  • Mild nosebleed and you don’t think your child needs to be seen

Home Care Advice for Nosebleed

  1. Apply Pressure: Gently squeeze the lower soft parts of the nose against the center wall for 10 minutes to apply continuous pressure to the bleeding point. Have your child lean forward and spit out any blood.
  2. Decongestant Nose Drops: If this fails, insert a gauze wet with decongestant nose drops (or petroleum jelly) (Reason: The gauze helps to apply pressure and nose drops shrink the blood vessels.) Repeat the process of gently squeezing the nose for 10 minutes.
  3. Prevent Recurrent Nosebleeds.
    • If the air is dry, use a humidifier to keep the nose from drying out
    • Apply petroleum jelly to the center wall (septum) twice a day to promote healing
  4. Expected Course: Over 99% of nosebleeds will stop following 10 minutes of direct pressure if the parent is pressing on the right spot. After swallowing blood from a nosebleed, your child may vomit a little blood or pass a dark stool tomorrow.
  5. Call Your Doctor If
    • Unable to stop bleeding with 20 minutes of direct pressure
    • Your child becomes worse or develops any of the “Call Your Doctor Now” symptoms