Q: Are nosebleeds in children normal or genetic? My husband said he would get nosebleeds all the time when he was younger and that it was when he got hot either from the weather or playing sports. Is that normal?
Nosebleeds are pretty common in kids, and they're rarely severe. Nosebleeds can be caused by many things, including allergies, cold weather, nose sprays that cause the inside of the nose to dry and crack—and of course, kids picking their nose. When you get hot or exercise, the blood vessels in your nose can dilate, making it more likely that any irritation like rubbing or scratching will cause bleeding.
Usually, just squeezing the nose firmly for about 10 minutes will stop the bleeding. If nosebleeds are happening frequently and causing a problem, additional options include chemical cauterization with silver nitrate or electrocautery to seal the blood vessels.
Treatments you can try at home include humidifying the area with a saline mist. It's also a good idea to keep fingernails trimmed and filed and apply an antibiotic cream to reduce inflammation.
David S. Crow, MD
71 Kanoa St., Suite 101
Wailuku, HI 96793