How to Handle a Broken Nose Before You Can Get to the Doctor

One of the more common injuries that people suffer is a broken nose. There are varying degrees of a nose break depending on the level of trauma, but all nose injuries should be taken seriously. The symptoms that indicate a fracture or severe breakage are apparent and include:

  • Tenderness or pain to touch
  • Swelling of the nose and its adjacent areas
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bruising around your nose or under your eyes
  • Misshapen or crooked nose
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Mucus discharge through the nose
  • Blocked nasal passages

If you feel that you have a broken nose, you should seek medical attention immediately. In the meantime, here are some helpful hints of first aid to administer before you can see a doctor.

Properly Clean any Exterior Wounds

If there is broken skin on the nose surface after trauma, you should first apply pressure with clean hands to stop the bleeding. Use sterile gauze or a clean cloth and gently press until the bleeding stops. When the bleeding stops, wash gently with water, peroxide, and iodine products. If there is any debris in the wound, use tweezers to remove. Next, apply an antibiotic cream then place another gauze to cover the wound. Bind this bandage with tape to apply continuous pressure.

Elevate Your Head

Keep your head above your heart to reduce swelling and bruising. This practice will allow excess fluids to drain downward rather than to collect around the injury. If the patient needs to relax or sleep, situate pillows under the neck and head to ensure the head stays elevated.

Tilt Head Back for Nosebleeds

If bleeding persists after a nose injury, you should tilt your head back. You may also want to gently pinch the nose at the soft nose tissue for about ten minutes. The pressure will help stop the blood flow and keep the nasal passages clear.

Apply Cold Compresses

Prepare an ice pack or cold compress to apply to the nose and reduce swelling. Keep the compress on the nose for about twenty minutes, then remove it. Repeat in twenty-minute intervals. This will encourage the blood vessels to constrict and stop the bleeding. It will also numb the nose area and relieve pain.

Take Over-the-Counter Medication

If you are dealing with discomfort, non-prescription pain meds like ibuprofen or aspirin will help make the pain more tolerable. However, if the break is severe or you are bleeding, you should ask the advice of a medical professional if possible. Taking these meds may prevent the patient from being able to take stronger medication when seen by a doctor.

Get to a Doctor or Emergency Room Immediately

Although many nose injuries will heal without medical attention, it’s crucial to let a doctor see if the trauma will require more than basic first aid. If you have a family doctor, consult with them, or go to the nearest urgent care or emergency room.

If You Need Surgical Correction

If the injury is severe enough, nose surgery may be necessary. If so, you should seek the expertise of a board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Dr. Matt Hershcovitch has extensive experience and training in rhinoplasty surgery to deliver cosmetic and functional correction after nose trauma.

Next Steps

If you’ve recently broken a nose, then you could use a consultation with a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon like Dr. Hershcovitch. Contact Dr. Hershovitch today for your consultation.