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Cuts and Wounds of the Nose
Children may get minor cuts, wounds, and lacerations to the outside part of the nose while playing, climbing, or participating in sports activities. Most of these injuries can be handled at home with simple first aid treatment.
First aid for superficial cuts and wounds
Recommendations for treating superficial cuts and wounds includes the following:
Calm your child and let him or her know you can help.
Apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for several minutes to stop bleeding.
Wash your hands thoroughly.
Wash the cut area well with soap and water, but do not scrub the wound. Remove any dirt particles from the area and let the water from the faucet run over it for several minutes. A dirty cut or scrape that is not thoroughly cleaned can cause scarring.
Apply an antiseptic lotion or cream.
Cover the area with an adhesive bandage or gauze pad. Change the dressing often.
Check the area each day and keep it clean and dry.
Avoid blowing on the abrasion, as this can cause germs to grow.
A direct blow or blunt trauma to the nose that causes bruising and swelling can be treated by applying a cold or ice pack to the area every one to two hours for 10 to 15 minutes for the first 24 hours. Do not put ice directly against the skin.
A wound, bruise, or hematoma (a collection of blood and fluid underneath the skin) that also involves the eye(s) should be evaluated by a healthcare provider immediately.
Use a sunscreen (sun protection factor, or SPF, of at least 15 or greater) on healed cuts and wounds to help prevent scarring.
When should I call my child's healthcare provider?
Specific treatment for cuts and wounds of the nose that need more than minor treatment at home will be discussed with you by your child's healthcare provider. In general, call your child's provider for cuts and wounds of the nose that are:
Bleeding that does not stop after 5 to 10 minutes of direct pressure. If the bleeding is profuse, hold pressure for 5 to 10 minutes without stopping to look at the cut. If the cloth becomes soaked with blood, put a new cloth on top of the old one. Do not lift the original cloth. Keep in mind that facial wounds often bleed heavily, even under normal circumstances. Call the healthcare provider if a wound or cut does not stop bleeding after 10 minutes or if it happens again.
A nosebleed that does not stop after 5 to 10 minutes of pinching the nostrils shut.
Deep or longer than 1/2 inch.
Caused by a puncture wound, or dirty or rusty object.
Embedded with debris, such as dirt, stones, or gravel.
Ragged or have separated edges.
Caused by an animal or human bite.
Excessively painful or if you suspect a fracture, or head or bone injury.
Showing signs of infection, such as increased warmth, redness, swelling, or drainage.
Difficulty breathing through one nostril. This may be a sign of a septal hematoma. These usually need drainage in order to prevent permanent deformity of the nose.
Also call your child's healthcare provider if:
Your child has not had a tetanus vaccine within the past 5 years, or if you are unsure when your child's last tetanus shot was given.
You are concerned about the wound or have any questions.
Preventing nose injuries
The following are a few guidelines to use to help prevent nose injuries in children:
Teach your child not to poke or place objects in the nose, such as cotton swabs or pencils.
Teach your child to wear protective face guards for sports activities that could cause injury.
Online Medical Reviewer:
Adler, Liora C., MD
Online Medical Reviewer:
Finke, Amy, RN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed:
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