I am not squeamish or faint or weak-kneed at the site of blood. In nearly all cases where I have encountered it in the past, regardless of the details, it has never bothered me. This is certainly not the case when it comes to the girls and bloody noses. If it were anything else, skinned knees, cuts and scraps, whatever, I would just bandage them up, kiss the pain away and send them packing. There is something about bloody noses though that scares me. The location nor the seriousness of what is causing the bleeding is rarely evident.
Tonight I heard Piper crying on the monitor, this being somewhat typical shortly after bedtime, usually resulting in the need for a drink, often goes ignored for ten to fifteen minutes. There was something though about her crying that caught my attention, everyone that has kids knows what I am talking about, a slight change in pitch or less whining or a layer of panic, etc…as a parent you know and it is hard to explain. So I dashed up the stairs, hit the light and quickly took in the situation: Piper on her knees in her bed with her hands covered in blood. It was smeared all over her face and had dripped and been rubbed over her clothing and bedding.
I was able to get her calmed down pretty quickly and once she saw it was only blood and not something else, weirdly she calmed down – I had expected the opposite. I cleaned her up, changed clothing and bedding and had her lay back while we waited for the bleeding to stop together. Interestingly she wasn’t crying because her nose was bleeding but because “something” was coming out of it and in the dark of the nightlight she didn’t know what it was and that scared her. I find it a little ironic though that the princess of the pair didn’t mind the gushing blood but the inability to identify it properly – perhaps there is hope yet…
Since I have some unfounded fear of the nosebleed I decided to take a look online and see what I could find. What causes them? Are they serious in kids? Is it normal? At what point is it serious enough to head in for an emergency? Time to squish the fear with knowledge. So here is what I learned.
Anterior nosebleeds are the most common in kids. Caused by capillaries that break and burst for no real reasons but possibly from allergies, a recent cold, sinus infection, dry nasal cavity, small fingers digging, etc… are mostly harmless and the amounts of blood are inverse to the severity of the problem in most cases. If they happen more than once a week or continuously for several weeks the recommendation is to see a doctor just to make sure something more sinister isn’t going on.
Another thing I learned is that you should not tilt the head backward to help ease a nosebleed. Supposedly it does not make it stop any faster than just applying tissue to catch the drips and it adds the risk that the blood will escape out of the back of the nasal cavity and into the throat. If that happens and in rare cases it could cause you to vomit – I guess you stomach is squeamish about blood even if your eyes are not.