Nasal trauma involves damage to the nose or areas surrounding and supporting the nose. Both external and internal damages can result to nasal trauma. It is important to note that the position of the nose puts the nasal cartilage, bone and soft tissues prone to external injuries.
Common forms of nasal damage
- Obstruction by a foreign object
- Chemical irritation or injuries to the interior of the nose
The nose contains several blood vessels that are positioned near the surface. As an outcome, nasal trauma often results to nosebleeds. The suitable treatment is based on the specific injury and ensuing symptoms.
The indications of nasal trauma can vary from minor to significant based on the form and severity of damage.
The usual symptoms include the following:
- Pain in and around the nose
- Drainage of clear fluid from the nose
- Blood draining from the nose
- Bruising around the eyes
- Loss of sense of smell
- Swollen face especially around the nasal region
- Distorted shape of the nose
- Difficulty breathing via the nose
In most instances, minor cases of nasal trauma can be managed at home. In severe injuries, consulting a doctor is required so that the appropriate treatment can be started such as cauterization or packing, medications and even surgery.
For blunt-force nasal trauma, the following measures must be done:
- Apply an ice pack for 10-20 minutes at a time for the initial days after the injury.
- Provide over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications
- When sleeping, elevate the head to reduce the swelling and pain
For minor nosebleeds, these steps should be followed:
- The individual should be seated upright and lean forward to minimize the blood pressure in the nose.
- Pinch both nostrils close at the soft area of the nose for 5-15 minutes
- While these steps are done, the individual should breathe via the mouth and keep his/her head higher than the heart. Avoid blowing or picking on the nose for several hours after.
What is the outlook?
In most cases, the outlook is generally good. In some instances, it might result to nasal deformities, scarring as well as other complications.
If a nasal fracture occurs, it can damage the bones that attach the nose to the skull which allows leakage of the cerebrospinal fluid.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on nasal trauma is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage nasal injuries by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.