First Aid

First Aid for a Broken Nose

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"First Aid for a Broken Nose"
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Broken nose is a condition which is encountered commonly in clinical practice and it can be seen in instances of contact sports, road traffic accidents or even in ordinary accidental trauma events. Due to its commonness, knowing what we should do in such encounters would be rather useful as early interventions would help in minimizing the complications as well as increase the speed of recovery.

When undertaking to do first aid treatment for these patients, one thing that we need to keep in mind would be, not to make matters worse but to reduce the possibility of continued nose bleeding, reduction of swelling, easing the breathing through stuffed nasal passages as well as to prevent further inflammation and infection. Thus, following steps would be useful in giving first aid to these patients at the site of injury or else in the emergency medical unit.

-In any event, keeping the head high would be a vital thing as to prevent further bleeding as well as to reduce the possible swelling which would obstruct the nasal passages and therefore the ability to breathe normally. This is especially important when lying flat as it is necessary for the head to be kept elevated using few blocks under the head end of the bed in order to achieve gravitational support.

-Secondly, we can apply an ice pack over the broken nose without exerting too much of a pressure to the broken bones. This application can be done at 15 minute intervals and measures should be taken not to keep ice directly over the broken nose or else to apply the ice pack continuously for more than 15 minutes as it can damage the skin over the damaged nose.

-Pain relievers would also be playing a vital role in such patients and mild to moderate analgesics would be sufficient in most instances.

-As the swelling around the broken nasal passages become more, there might be an indication for the use of decongestants to relieve the swelling and therefore to expand the passages for better air intake. But, when using nasal decongestants, one should note that they should be discontinued usually after about three days to avoid certain side effects of these medications.

Following applying these first aid measures, a person with a suspected broken nose should be seen by a surgical specialist in order to assess the need for a surgical intervention or else to apply more permanent measures to arrest bleeding and to support the broken nasal passages or else to determine the necessity for in a patient care in a specialized unit.

More about this author: Dr Pandula Siribaddana

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