Broken nose

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A broken nose is best described as a break in the cartilage or bone within the nose. Take note that these breaks typically occur over the bridge of the nose or in the septum.

broken nose
First aid for a broken nose.

Causes of a broken nose

Any impact or blow to the nose can lead to a break. Broken noses usually occur with other face or neck injuries. There are common causes of a broken nose which includes:

• Falls
• Motor vehicular accidents
• Physical altercations
• Nose was struck during contact sports

Symptoms of a broken nose

The symptoms of a broken nose include:

• Swelling of the nose or the area around the nose
• Pain in the nose or area around the nose
• Bleeding from the nose
• Crooked or bent nose
Bruising around your nose and eyes
• Nasal passages that are blocked
• Grating or rubbing sound when moving the nose

Symptoms that need immediate medical care

It is important to call for emergency assistance once you break your nose and the following symptoms are present.

• Nose is bleeding and could not be controlled.
• Difficulty breathing
• Clear fluid draining from the nose
• The nose appears misshapen or crooked
• You suspect a blood clot in the septum that feels like a small swelling in the side of the septum

In case you suspect that the individual incurred a neck or head injury, it is best to avoid moving the individual in order to prevent further damage.

Who are at risk for a broken nose?

Always bear in mind that accidents can happen, thus everybody is at risk for experiencing a broken nose at some point in their lives. There are certain activities that can increase the risk for the injury.

• Those involved in contact sports, especially without appropriate protective gear
• Riding a bicycle without using proper gear
• Involved in a physical altercation
• Riding a motor vehicle without using a seat belt

Diagnosing a broken nose

The doctor can diagnose a broken nose by performing a physical examination that involves inspection and palpation of the nose and face. In case there is a lot of pain, the doctor will provide a local anesthetic to numb the nose before the physical examination is performed. After the swelling subsides, you have to return for a follow-up checkup so that your doctor can check on the possible injuries. In case the injury is severe or accompanied with other facial injuries, an X-ray or CT scan will be requested to determine the extent of damage.

Treatment for a broken nose

In case the symptoms present do not require immediate medical care, there are first aid measures that you can perform before seeing the doctor.

• For bleeding, allow the individual to sit down and lean forward while breathing through the mouth so that that the blood will not drain down to the throat.
• If bleeding is not present, elevate the head of the individual to minimize the pain.
• You can reduce the swelling by applying a cold compress or ice that is wrapped in cloth to the nose for 10-15 minutes for 4 times a day.
• Provide over-the-counter medications for pain such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

A broken nose will likely heal without any complications. In case you are not happy with the appearance of your nose after it fully heals or have difficulty breathing, it is best to consult your doctor.


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