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Going With the Flow of Nosebleeds

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Most nosebleeds look worse than they are. In other words, nosebleeds are messy, a little uncomfortable, and sometimes even scary, but they are usually no big deal.

Kids can get nosebleeds once in a while or more often. The nosebleeds that are most common in kids usually occur near the front of the nose, on the wall separating the two sides of the nose (the septum), and usually start from just one nostril.

Sometimes nosebleeds start further back in the nose, but this is rare and occurs mostly in older people or those who have high blood pressure or injuries to their nose or face.

What Causes Nosebleeds?

Most nosebleeds occur when little blood vessels that line the inside of your nose break and bleed. These blood vessels are very fragile and lie very close to the surface, which makes them easy targets for injury.

Common reasons are:

Less often, injuries to the outside of the nose, face, or head can cause nosebleeds. If this happens, you need to see a doctor right away. You can help prevent these types of nosebleeds by wearing protective gear, such as helmets for hockey, football, and baseball and any other sport or activity that requires them.

Sometimes nosebleeds may be due to a problem with the blood’s clotting system, but this is rare.

If You Get Nosebleeds

You know that you should see a doctor if your nosebleed was caused by an injury, such as a punch. But what if it just starts bleeding on its own?

Follow these steps:

Here are some other cases when you need to see the doctor or visit the emergency department:

Nixing Nosebleeds

If you'd like to get fewer nosebleeds, what can you do? Well, don't pick your nose or stick anything up your nose. Also, avoid blowing your nose too forcefully and if you have allergies that bother your nose, see a doctor about them. If you get your allergies under control, your nose probably won't be as stuffy and irritated.

When the inside of your nose feels dry and itchy, it can be tempting to pick it, so talk to your mom or dad about using one or two of these strategies to keep it moist:

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: January 2011

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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