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Nose Injuries

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First aid measures are important after a nose injury.

  • Stop a nosebleed camera.gif. Crying can make a nosebleed worse. If your child has a nosebleed and is crying, speak to the child in a quiet, relaxed manner. This will help reduce the child's fear. For more information, see the topic Nosebleeds.
  • If you think that the nose is broken, do not try to put a crooked nose back in place. This may increase bleeding or deformity or cause further injury.

Measures to reduce pain, swelling, and bruising

  • Use ice. Cold will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an ice or cold pack immediately to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. Always keep a cloth between your skin and the ice pack, and press firmly against all the curves of the affected area. Do not apply ice for longer than 20 minutes at a time, and do not fall asleep with the ice on your skin.
  • Keep your head elevated, even while you sleep. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Do not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or aspirin for the first 48 hours. Aspirin prolongs the clotting time of blood and may cause more nose or facial bleeding. Also, do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome, a rare but serious disease.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking slows healing because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Measures to relieve nasal stuffiness and promote sinus drainage

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Extra fluids help keep mucus thin and draining, which may help prevent blockage of the sinuses.
  • Try a nonprescription decongestant, such as Sudafed PE, or use saline nasal sprays or drops to relieve nasal stuffiness.
  • Use a humidifier to keep the air in your home moist. You may want to purchase a small humidifier to use in your bedroom while you sleep.
  • Inhale steam from a vaporizer, or take long, steamy showers. You may also try breathing the moist air from a bowl of hot water. Put a towel over your head and the bowl to trap the moist air.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:

Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 18, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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