Nosebleed (Epistaxis) in Children

What is a nosebleed in children?

A nosebleed is bleeding from tissues inside the nose (nasal mucus membranes) caused by a broken blood vessel. The medical word for nosebleed is epistaxis. Most nosebleeds in children occur in the front part of the nose close to the nostrils. This part of the nose has many tiny blood vessels. These can be damaged easily.

A nosebleed can look scary, but is usually not a serious problem. Nosebleeds are common in children. They happen more often in dry climates. They also happen more during the winter. That’s when dry heat in homes and buildings can cause drying, cracking, and crusting inside the nose. Many children outgrow nosebleeds during their teen years.

What causes a nosebleed in a child?

Nosebleeds can be caused by many things. Some common causes include:

  • Dry air
  • Picking the nose
  • Blowing the nose too hard
  • Injury to the nose
  • Colds and allergies
  • Object in the nose

In many cases, no specific cause for a nosebleed is found.

Which children are at risk for a nosebleed?

A child may be more at risk for nosebleed if he or she:

  • Lives in a dry climate
  • Picks his or her nose
  • Has allergies
  • Has a cold

What are the symptoms of a nosebleed in a child?

The main symptom of a nosebleed is blood dripping or running from the nose. Bleeding from the mucus membranes in the front of the nose comes from only one nostril. Bleeding higher up in the nasal cavity may come from both nostrils. It may be painless. Or your child may have pain caused by an injury or an area of sore tissue inside the nose.

The symptoms of a nosebleed can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is a nosebleed diagnosed in a child?

The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask about any recent accidents or injuries. He or she will give your child a physical exam.