CHILD’S HEALTH: NOSEBLEEDS (EPISTAXIS) AND OBJECT IN EAR

Nosebleeds are a relatively common occurrence at any age, and are rarely cause for concern.

Cause

In small children the commonest cause of nosebleed is picking crusts from the inside of the nose, and in so doing scratching the delicate lining and damaging a small blood vessel. Blowing the nose vigorously, or any form of trauma can cause a nosebleed. Frequent nosebleeds may be a sign of a blood disorder but this is rare. The amount of blood lost due to a nosebleed will usually not harm your child.

Treatment

The most effective treatment for a nosebleed is to apply firm pressure with your fingers on the sides of the nostrils. Continue for 5 minutes, keeping the head still. If bleeding does not stop completely, continue for another 10 minutes. If after 15 minutes you still cannot control the bleeding, see your doctor, or go to a hospital casualty department. If your child suffers from recurrent nosebleeds, your doctor may recommend cautery, a simple procedure in which the vein which has been bleeding is sealed off.

When to see your doctor

• if bleeding has not stopped after 15 minutes despite the application of firm pressure on the nose;

• if your child has recurrent nosebleeds;

Object in the ear

Cause

Young children in particular like to explore their own bodies, and may insert small objects into their ear.

Clinical features

This can cause itching, swelling and pain, or the child may complain of a blocked ear. An offensive discharge may be present sometimes if the object has been there for several or more.

Treatment

If you suspect that your child has an object lodged in his ear it is safest to let your doctor see him. Your doctor will probably syringe the ear with warm water to remove the object, or use a special ear probe. Trying to remove the object at home with a cotton bud may only push the object in further and this can cause damage to the delicate ear drum or canal. If the ear is infected your doctor may prescribe antibiotic ear drops or medicine.

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