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Your Questions Answered – What Causes Nosebleeds?

Injuries & First Aid

Your Questions Answered – What Causes Nosebleeds?

This is another common question that I’m asked about by parents of all ages both for themselves and their children: what causes nosebleeds.

The nose is a pathway to our lungs. We breathe air in through the nose and it travels down to the lungs. But what many people don’t know is that the nose is special and has specialized hairs and a membrane that produces mucous to act as a filter to keep bacteria and other pathogens from infecting us. This is why hand hygiene is so important, and to try to avoid touching your nose with dirty hands. The nose has a lot of blood vessels running through it and that is why it bleeds so easily.

The most common causes of a nosebleed is drying out of the nose; this typically occurs in the drier months of winter and early spring, but can occur anytime there is low humidity in the air. Kids are more likely to pick their noses when the nose becomes dry and the mucous has trapped, creating hard boogers that many children (and adults) try to pick out. So dryness and boogers à bloody noses.

The other leading cause of nosebleeds is trauma. Even minor bumps to the nose can cause a nosebleed. Excessive or forceful blowing of the nose may cause small blood vessels to break and cause a nosebleed as well.

Some less obvious causes of nosebleeds are high blood pressure, and problems with the blood’s ability to clot, and in some cases a severe head injury can cause a nosebleed. In these instances you should consult your child’s doctor, of course.

Most nosebleeds will stop bleeding within 10-15 minutes. If bleeding lasts longer or cannot be stopped seek immediate medical attention. If your child has constant nose bleeds – please see your doctor.

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Quick Tips

  • A dried out nose most commonly causes nosebleeds.

  • To prevent the nose from drying, consider using a saline spray and a humidifier to keep the nasal pathway moist.

  • Keep your fingers out of your nose.

Dr. Dina Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM
Written By: Dr. Dina Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.

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