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Q: 
My son gets frequent nosebleeds during the late spring. When he wakes up in the morning, there is blood on his pillow. We have tried putting Vasoline, in his nose but it doesn't help. What can we do to prevent his nose from bleeding?
A: 
Nosebleeds are a common problem for children who have allergies. The bleeding happens because there are many blood vessels just inside of the nasal opening on the middle part of the nose (called the nasal septum). You can damage it through vigorous rubbing, picking the nose, or even incorrect use of nasal sprays. Nosebleeds often happen at night, because you may pick and rub at your nose in your sleep.

Though it can be scary when your nose bleeds a lot, it is not usually dangerous. The most effective way to stop a nosebleed is to apply pressure by pinching your nose closed and holding it firmly for 5 minutes. That will cause the broken blood vessel to clot and the bleeding to stop. It is not a good idea to apply Vasoline or other substances to the nose to stop the bleeding once it has started. This won't help, and it can irritate your nose even more. If the nosebleeds persist, or don't improve after a reasonable amount of pressure, consult your doctor.

The best way to prevent nosebleeds that are worsened by allergies is to treat the underlying problem that is causing discomfort that leads to rubbing and picking. Treatment often involves use of medicines for allergies taken orally (such as antihistamines) or nasally (such nose sprays).

Nasal sprays must be used correctly or they can increase the risk of nosebleeds. Proper technique involves spraying away from the middle of the nose, up and out towards the ear.

Saltwater (saline) nasal rinses can be very effective for removing nasal secretions and dried up mucus. As long as you're using it correctly, you don't need to wait a long period after a nosebleed to make use of a nasal rinse. The rinse should not be too vigorous. To avoid trauma to the blood vessels, don't insert the bulb syringe or Netipot very far into the nose. Residual or dried blood may come out with these rinses.