The Cure for the Uncommon Nosebleed

This is a totally gross topic.  My apologies.  But the reality at our house is that we are way, way too familiar with bleeding through the nose, thanks to Superkid.

Superkid tends to have a lot of nosebleeds.  Part of this is due to the fact that she has to take a blood-thinning medication to protect her artificial heart valve from blood clots.  And part of it is due to the fact that she has a small artery a little too close to the surface of her left nostril.  (For which there isn’t a simple fix, due to Superkid’s other medical conditions.)

The combination isn’t exactly pretty–especially when her medication is at therapeutic levels.  (Read: when her blood is as thin as her cardiologists want it to be.)  Believe you me, I have the stained sheets, towels, t-shirts, and carpet to prove that.  We have seen some pretty dreadful nosebleeds.  One of Superkid’s worst lasted for 3+ hours, and dripped like a faucet the entire time.  Naturally, that one occurred at 10 o’clock at night while Bionic Man was out of town on business, and involved a late-night trek to the children’s hospital ER with Superkid, Lily, and Lily’s oxygen tank in tow.  The nosebleed stopped as soon as we walked into the ER.  I am not kidding.

And, up until recently, that was the best cure for nosebleeds we knew.  Seriously, we’ve had three nosebleeds worthy of trips to the ER, and all of them stopped upon entry. Kind of an expensive and time-consuming cure, don’t you think?

Well, this summer, as we saw a marked increase in Superkid’s nosebleeds, one of my friends convinced me to try using mini-tampons for nosebleeds.  Guess what?  They work really well.  They fit, Superkid is willing to leave them in her nostril long enough for the blood to clot, and they absorb A LOT of blood.  And they are relatively inexpensive and extremely portable.  Trouble is, we are left with a child running around (sometimes in public) with a tampon dangling from her nose.

There is just no other way to say it.  It’s not pretty.

Then last week, a couple we know from church pulled me aside and said they knew a better way to stop nosebleeds.

“You’ll think this is such an old wives’ tale, but it really works!” they assured me.  “All you do is have the person with the nosebleed lie down on their back, and then you just pick up their feet and slap them hard on the bottom of their feet.”

“And then what?” I asked.

“That’s it!  The nosebleed stops.  We don’t know why,” they told me matter-of-factly.

I will admit that I was skeptical.  I knew of no physiological or biological or psychological or even plain ole’ logical reason why that would even work.  But Superkid overheard, and she remembered.

We went through several more mini tampons before I got desperate enough to give it a try.  Last week, Superkid’s nose started bleeding in the middle of the night, when we were both really, really tired.  I could not handle another night of sitting up with her while her nose bled.  I just couldn’t.  She wanted to go back to sleep, too. “Try slapping my feet, Mommy,” Superkid suggested.

So I did.

And the nosebleed stopped.  I don’t mean it stopped five minutes later, I mean it stopped immediately.  Instantly.

It worked again the following evening.  And the morning after that.  And when we were eating frozen yogurt alongside the Monon Trail.  In fact, 4 out of 5 times, slapping Superkid’s feet has stopped her nosebleed within 5 seconds or less.

Superkid is thrilled.  She now starts slipping off her shoes as she runs for the tissues, yelling, “You need to come slap me, Mom!”  I was a little nervous that it hurt when I slapped her across the soles of her feet, but she claims it doesn’t bother her a bit.  Superkid can hardly wait until she has a nosebleed at school, so she can teach her new trick to the school nurse.

I can hardly wait for that phone call.

You’ll thank me for not illustrating this post.


  1. Thanks for the laugh! I’m glad you finally found something that works! And having a child ask you to slap them? Priceless. :) The tampons in the nose reminded me of the movie “She’s the Man.”

    • Ruth, Once again, you made my day. I’m sure this isn’t a laughing matter, but I am literally typing this with tears rolling down my face as I picture a kid with a tampon up her nose and her mom slapping her on the feet. Life is pure comedy!

  2. at least snip off the string!

  3. A favorite remedy for Hockey Players, too!

  4. Very good idea. I hear they do this during sports injuries on the field. My 3 year old has had nosebleeds since she was itty bitty (I still don’t know why), and I’ll have to try this next time it happens! Thanks for the tip :).

  5. My son has a bleeding disorder, Von Willebrand’s Disease. Your story of nosebleeds is very similar to our life. Thanks for the tip… I’ve never heard of feet slapping! I’ve also just heard of putting gauze rolled up under top lip. I guess it puts pressure on a pressure point that stops the bleeding. I haven’t tried it yet.

  6. I am interested in trying anything at this point for my son. He’s been through all kinds of blood tests and the doctors have come up with nothing. At the end of it all states he just might have nose bleeds and hopefully grows out of them!!! Wow..wish I could write off the medical bills as easy. So regarding this technique do they lay down for any certain length of time and you do one foot at at time?? Thank you for posting!


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