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How to treat a nasal fracture

A nasal fracture is a condition of the nose where is a break or fracture of bones or cartilage of the nose. Usually it happens over the bridge of the nose or the septum. Swelling develops on the inside and outside of the nose and dark bruises around the eyes or black eyes.

A nasal fracture affects both the bone and the cartilage. A septal hematoma which is a collection of blood can form on the nasal septum. Nasal septum is the cartilage and bone in the nose that splits the nasal cavity into the 2 nostrils. If this fracture is not properly treated it will leave the person with an unattractive appearances and difficulties in breathing.

Causes of a nasal fracture

  • Walking in the dark and bumps into a wall
  • Trying to walk through a glass door
  • Playing contact sports such as boxing, football, and rugby
  • Slipping or falling directly facedown.
  • Vehicular accidents with nose bumping strongly the steering wheel
  • Assault with being hit directly on the nose

Symptoms

nasal-fracture

Pain and tenderness around the affected area is an indication of a nasal fracture.

  • Nasal congestion without production of any drainage
  • Pain and tenderness around the affected area
  • Deformity of the nasal such as bent or crooked
  • Swelling in and around the nasal area
  • Bleeding
  • A deviated septum
  • Blockage of one or both the nostrils
  • Bruising around the nose and eyes
  • A grating sound when moving the nose
  • Heavy bleeding from the nose, drainage of a clear fluid from the nose, nasal deformity and difficulty with breathing needs to be treated immediately.

Treatment

  • When the breaks happen, breathe through the mouth and lean forward to lessen the amount of blood that comes out of the throat.
  • Elevate the head by placing couple of pillows under the head especially when lying down to lessen the swelling and the throbbing pain.
  • Apply ice pack or cold compress immediately after the injury for at least for 10-15 minutes at a time for the first 24-48 hours, four times every day to lessen the swelling. Avoid ice directly on the skin, wrap ice using a towel or a cloth before placing to the area to prevent ice burn and worsen the condition. Avoid applying too much pressure to prevent further damage and pain to the nose.
  • Take the given over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium to reduce the pain and the inflammation.
  • For the first 2 weeks after the treatment, avoid playing sports and avoid contact sports for at least 6 weeks after the injury.

Tips

  • Wear seatbelts when traveling in a car and keep children in safety seatbelts.
  • Wear proper equipment such as helmet with a face mask when playing contact sports.
  • Wear helmet when riding a motorcycle or a bicycle.

More Information

The details posted on this page on a nasal fracture is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage this type of fracture, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.

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