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Nose injury

My child’s nose is swollen, is it broken?

There is often swelling of the nose and tissues around it when a child injures their nose. It is often difficult to tell if an injury has occurred that requires treatment until the swelling settles. If it is broken, the majority heal without any problems.

Does my child need an X-ray?

No, an X-ray is not necessary. This is because the initial treatment is the same even if the nose is broken.

What is the treatment?

The swelling will improve by itself over the next 3 to 5 days. Ice packs to the nose can help to reduce the swelling and pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are helpful. There is some more information about giving paracetamol and ibuprofen here: Paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Will my child’s nose look different?

Sometimes the swelling can be worse on one side and this makes the nose appear uneven (asymmetrical) at first. When the swelling has gone down (usually after 5 days) most have no significant deformity.

If you are concerned about the shape of your child’s nose after the swelling has gone, please contact 0114 305 3585 and we will arrange for you to be seen in the next available ENT (nose specialist) clinic. Your child may need surgery to straighten the nose and if this is required this needs to be done within 14 days of the original injury.

What if my child’s nose bleeds?

Nose bleeds may occur following an injury. Simple first aid can usually stop the bleeding. Encourage or help your child to do the following:

  1. Sit up and lean forward. Breathe through their mouth.
  2. Using your index finger and thumb pinch the soft part of their nose firmly at the tip completely blocking the nostrils for 10 to 20 minutes with the head tilted forward.
  3. Encourage your child not to swallow the blood but instead to spit it out as it may cause them to vomit which can cause further nose bleeding.
  4. If available, a cold flannel around the nose and front of face will help as it causes the blood vessels to narrow. Alternatively, sucking on some ice will have the same effect.

This will stop the bleeding in most cases.

If the bleeding continues, return to A&E.

The following suggestions may help to reduce the likelihood of further bleeding:

  • encourage your child not to pick or blow their nose after nose bleeds
  • avoid hot food, drinks and baths for 24 hours
  • avoid strenuous activity

Further information

If you have any further questions or are worried, please contact 111 for advice in the first instance.

There is some more information about managing nosebleeds and nose injuries here:

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Disclaimer

Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

Resource number: ED19

Resource Type: Article

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