A nosebleed isn’t something most parents take seriously — at least not at first.
But it’s a good thing the parents of Crystal Enns mentioned their teenager’s bloody nose to their doctor: A common nosebleed led doctors to discover a rare kidney disease. The 14-year-old and her family never imagined she had juvenile nephronophthisis, a disorder that can stem from developed kidney failure during childhood. If that wasn’t shocking enough, Crystal’s parents learned they both had kidney cancer after a screening to determine donor eligibility for their daughter’s transplant.
We can only imagine how Crystal and her parents felt hearing this news — especially when they went to the doctor for a bloody nose! It’s one thing to deal with news that your child has a rare disease, but even more nerve-wracking to find out both you and your spouse have cancer. No one ever wants to think of those what-if scenarios. Thankfully Crystal received a kidney from her aunt that will enable her to enjoy her last year of high school. As for her parents, early detection has allowed them to live healthier lives.
The National Institutes of Health reiterates what parents already know: Nosebleeds are very common and often caused by everyday irritations. Anyone can get a nosebleed under the right set of circumstances that can make them nonthreatening in the eyes of most. How many times have children roughhoused or taken a bad spill from playing? Heck, you can even get a nosebleed from picking your nose a little too hard. It happens. The right weather conditions can also play a factor, as winter months and drier air are the perfect elements to develop a bloody nose.
While most are rarely life-threatening, repeated nosebleeds can be a symptom of a bleeding disorder and even a tumor. It never hurts to speak to your child’s pediatrician for that extra assurance that all is well. To help prevent nosebleeds from happening, try humidifying your home when the air is really dry (humidifiers in bedrooms help). You can also use nasal spray a few times a day, but should steer clear of excessive use of over-the-counter medication that can be counterproductive.
It’s stories like this that make you realize just how precious life really is, along with the importance of trusting your gut and speaking with a professional. There’s nothing wrong with playing it safe when it comes to the health of you and your family. In the case of the Enns, it helped save lives.