Winter nosebleeds

Allison asked, “One of my children is constantly getting nosebleeds during the winter. We generally try to run a vaporizer in his room at night to help, but are there any other options? A friend told me about borafax — any thoughts about that as an option?”

Winter nosebleeds are caused by dry, hot air pouring out of your furnace. It dries out the lining of his nose. Little cracks form, which are itchy and irritated. Junior rubs or picks his itchy nose, and nosebleeds start. Once a nosebleed starts, it will clot off—but the clot is never as strong as the intact blood vessel. So you’ll get a few nosebleeds in a row as he continues to rub his nose and knock the clot off.

You do need to make sure there isn’t some other kind of issue going on. If a child has nosebleeds accompanied by other bleeding—like bleeding under the skin, or gum bleeding—or if there’s a strong family history of bleeding problems, then a blood workup for a bleeding disorder is needed. Most of the time, though, nosebleeds are just nosebleeds.

To prevent nosebleeds, keep the air as humid as possible. A vaporizer or humidfier can help, especially one that really pours out the mist. If you can’t see much mist coming out, it’s not humidifying very well. A good humidifier will use at least a gallon of water to humidify a child’s bedroom every night.

You can also moisturize your child’s nose by having him snort some saline nasal gel. Dab a blob of this gel—it has the consistency of toothpaste—on a fingertip, have have him snort it up into his nose at bedtime. If he’ll do it, it works. They also make swabs of saline gel, but the swabs themselves tend to be too stiff and might damage the lining of the nose, leading to more nosebleeds.

I’m not familiar with Borafax (sometimes spelled Borofax), but with the help of Dr. Google I found that it’s a first aid cream that appears to have been taken off the market. It’s made with boric acid, a weak anti-fungal/anti-biotic, and had been touted for diaper rash and other mild skin irritations. There are some compounding pharmacies that seem to make this, or something very similar to it. I’m not sure how or why it would help with nosebleeds.

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One Comment on “Winter nosebleeds”

  1. Allison Says:

    The idea with the borofax was to use it the same way you suggested using the gel. My friend used it when she was a child-to-preteen (without revealing our ages, that would have been in the late 70s to early 80s) because of recurring winter nosebleeds. But I wasn’t able to find it either……seems the boric acid was later found to have some not so beneficial properties, so it’s not made anymore. I’ll look for that gel — thanks!

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