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Broken Nose

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Broken Nose Treatment Self-Care at Home

Taking the following actions at home may help reduce the symptoms of a broken nose.

  • Place some ice wrapped in a cloth over the nose for about 15 minutes at a time and then remove the ice. This process can be repeated multiple times throughout the day. Use ice at the time of injury and for 1-2 days afterward to reduce pain and swelling. Be sure to take breaks between applications, and do not apply the ice directly to the skin.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to reduce pain. Only use these medications as directed.
  • Take an over-the-counter nasal decongestant to aid in breathing through the nostrils.
    • Be sure to read warning labels associated with these medications.
    • These medications should not be used for more than 3 days.
  • Elevate the head, especially when sleeping, to avoid increased swelling of the nose. Prop the head up with pillows or lift the head of the bed by placing large blocks or phone books under the mattress.

Medical Treatment

For simple breaks in which the nose has not been displaced (the bone is not crooked), the doctor may prescribe only pain medication, ice, and nasal decongestants.

  • For markedly displaced fractures, the doctor may attempt to realign the bone pieces. The doctor may use pain medication, local anesthesia, and nasal instruments.
    • Not all displaced fractures can be relocated immediately.
    • Not all displaced fractures can be relocated in the emergency department.
    • The doctor will advise of the best care.
  • If the nose continues to bleed, the doctor may insert packing into the nostrils.
    • A soft gauze pad will be placed in the bleeding nostril and should stop the nosebleed completely. The doctor usually removes the packing in 2-3 days.
    • Do not attempt to remove this packing.
    • The doctor will prescribe antibiotics and pain medication while the packing is in place. 
  • If other injuries exist, additional diagnostic tests and treatment may be given.

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