September 28, 2011

Causes, Symptoms & Treatment for Epistaxis in Children

Posted in Category : Child Health

Epistaxis or nosebleeds are usually not serious and rarely a cause for concern though, treatment for epistaxis should be a priority as it could cause fear and anxiety in the person. Most cases of epistaxis can be handled at home through some simple measures. When epistaxis originates from the front of the nose, it is known as anterior and when it originates from the rear of the nose, it is known as posterior. The causes of epistaxis may not be identifiable in most cases. The most common cause of nosebleed is injury or trauma to the nose. A blow to the nose or obstruction by a foreign object could result in nasal bleeding.

There are also some other factors that may predispose an individual to epistaxis. Dry and warm climate can irritate the nasal membranes and trigger bleeding. Individuals who suffer from allergies and sinus infections may sometimes experience nosebleeds. Blowing the nose vigorously during a cold or an upper respiratory infection can rupture the blood vessels and lead to bleeding. A deviated nasal septum is another risk factor for epistaxis. Other causes of nosebleeds include nasal surgery and use of cocaine. In rare cases, an underlying condition or intake of certain medications may trigger nosebleeds.

Symptoms of epistaxis include bleeding, dizziness and weakness. If the bleeding is excessive, the individual may also experience confusion and continued blood loss may lead to fainting. In most cases the bleeding begins in one nostril and then floods the part of the nose where the nostrils converge. This leads to blood flow from the other nostril as well. The blood may also drain down the throat and enter the stomach.

It is important to seek medical treatment for epistaxis in case there are recurring episodes or if bleeding occurs very easily. Those with underlying blood clotting disorders and individuals who are on blood thinning medications should also seek early medical attention.

Epistaxis in Children

Epistaxis in children can be traumatic. It can be frightening to experience and see the considerable blood loss that is characteristic of a nosebleed. Some children may be more prone to nosebleeds because the veins are much closer to the nasal membranes than usual and blowing or picking the nose can cause the veins to rupture. Since children may react with anxiety, it is the responsibility of the parent to remain calm and handle the nosebleed properly. Therefore it is helpful for all parents to know about first aid for nosebleeds. Here are the steps to follow when dealing with nosebleed in a child.

  • The child must be reassured and encouraged to stay calm. It is highly imperative that the parent is calm as well.
  • Have the child sit upright in a chair or in the lap and slowly tilt his head forward. The bleeding will cease sooner when the child is sitting upright instead of lying down.
  • Gently pinch the nose using a tissue or cloth. This is helpful in stopping nosebleeds because it exerts pressure on the affected vein and restricts the bleeding. The blood will then coagulate and form a clot.
  • Maintain the pressure on the nose until about ten minutes while you breathe from the mouth to ensure that the bleeding stops.
  • It is important to keep the child from leaning back as this can cause the blood to drip down the throat. As a result the child may cough or vomit.
  • Encourage the child to relax for sometime after a nosebleed.

It is advisable to consult a doctor in case children have recurring nosebleeds or show signs of bruising very easily. In order to prevent further nosebleeds, ensure that the child’s sleeping environment is sufficiently humid as nasal dryness can aggravate epistaxis.