The nose is crucial in the human body as it removes dust and germs, filters the air you breathe, and pulls out irritants.
With nerve cells, human noses can smell over 10,000 fragrances but are still susceptible to injuries.
The nose warms and moistens the air, preventing tubes and lungs from drying out. It is hard to tell if your nose is broken because it comprises flexible cartilage and thin bone pieces.
If your nose has a problem, your complete body will suffer. Nose injuries occur in various situations like play, sports, or accidents.
Swelling, tenderness, and bruising can happen even with minimal injuries and make your nose look crooked or deformed. Hence, doctors usually prefer to check injured noses quickly after the swelling has gone down.
Here are some common nose injuries and disorders you should know when to seek medical attention!
Seriousness of a nose injury
Whether your nose is broken or not, a nose injury becomes more serious when:
- You have a significant nosebleed that can’t be stopped
- The skin of your nose gets punctured or cut
- You have blood clots that separate the nostrils (deviated septum)
- You get a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) infection
Common nose injuries
A stuffy nose with a common cold can badly affect your sleep, breathing, and comfort zone. So, how can a nose get injured?
Let’s delve into some insights about the common nose injuries you need to know and how to treat them!
1. Nose Fractures
A broken nose, or a nasal fracture, refers to a crack in the bridge of your nose bone. Usually, this may lead to a nosebleed, and you may find it difficult to breathe through it.
Severe nose fractures can be reset the same day, usually with fewer realignment procedures. Nevertheless, a nasal fracture must be reset ten days after the injury.
Nose fractures are of two types: Open fractures (skin breaks and bone damage) and closed fractures (skin doesn’t break, but bone damages).
When you have a nose injury, you must check for the following symptoms:
- Collection of clotted blood called septal hematoma
- Grating sensations
- Cartilage fracture
- Neck injury
Most nosebleeds occur even with minor nose injuries and can be stopped with the correct home treatment techniques. It only involves one nostril in the anterior epistaxis, resulting in large amounts of blood from the nose into the throat.
Blood vessels are fragile in the nose and can bleed because of irritations, hard impact, and excessive scratching.
Applying ice to the nose is a straightforward method to treat nose bleeds. It can constrict the blood vessels and allow clotting. Nose bleeds that continue for more than 10 minutes require medical attention.
Possible causes may include dry nasal membranes, frequent nose blowing, having a foreign object stuck in the nose, and some rare reasons may include:
- High blood pressure
- Some forms of cancer
- Being on blood thinners
- Changes in the environment
- Nasal abuse of illegal drugs
These are a few points to be taken care of:
- Nosebleeds cannot be stopped after 20 minutes of direct pressure.
- They are severe and frequent at times.
- Nosebleeds recur four or more times a week after trying prevention measures.
To stop a nosebleed, follow these steps:
- Squeeze the soft parts of the nose for a few minutes
- Gently press them against the centre wall
- Continue doing this for 10 minutes to create pressure
- Use the index and thumb fingers in a pinching manner
- If the bleeding doesn’t stop, move your point of pressure
- Have the person sit up and breathe through the mouth
Here are some of the tips to reduce your risk of developing nosebleeds:
- Use salt water (saline) nose drops or a nasal spray and avoid forceful nose-blowing.
- Avoid straining after a nosebleed. Also, elevate your head on two pillows while sleeping.
- Apply light coatings of moisturizing ointment inside your nostrils.
- Use prescription blood-thinning medicine as instructed by your doctor. These medicines can help control allergies and cold symptoms.
- Keep your blood pressure under control if you are a patient with high blood pressure records.
- Humidify your home and keep the heat low in sleeping areas.
- Breathe moist air, such as from a shower, if your nose becomes very dry.
3. Deviated septum
A deviated nasal septum is the displacement of cartilage or thin bone wall that is present between the nostrils and separates the nasal passages.
Nasal septal deviations, also called areas of crookedness, may be caused by nasal obstructions, injuries and blockages, or nose surgeries.
It may be a deformity that was present at birth or a sudden specific trauma. Treatment includes a surgical procedure called septoplasty, an endoscope-assisted method that can be used to restore alignment.
Possible symptoms of deviated septum include:
- Difficulty with nose breathing
- Headaches and sleep issues
- Frequent nose bleeds
- Postnasal drip
- Loud snoring
Nose injuries can have minor to major issues. For example, one should regularly notice a bruised or broken nose with recurring bleeding.
It is rarely possible to prevent nose injuries since it’s unprotected. However, seeking prompt attention minimizes the odds of sustaining permanent damage.
4. Nasal polyps
Nasal polyps are sac-like, mucus-covered, soft, swollen tissue that grows on the lining of your nose or out from the sinuses. Small polyps will not cause any problems, but large polyps block your nasal passages.
It develops in people with chronic sinus infections and results in long-term inflammation and swelling in the nose. Small polyps can be treated with nasal sprays that contain corticosteroids.
If nasal polyps do not respond to treatment, they may need surgery. But even with successful treatment, polyps recur frequently.
Signs of a nasal polyp include:
- Runny nose
- Loss of smell and taste
- Aspirin sensitivity
- Snoring and sneezing
- Cystic fibrosis
- Long-term chronic infections
- Hay fever
- Headache & pain
Polyps will appear like greyish grape-shaped cloudy spots in the nasal cavity. Healthcare providers may need to perform nasal endoscopy to diagnose the extent of polyps.
Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is an inflammation of the nose membrane lining the sinuses. The signs of rhinitis are itchiness in the nasal passages, runny nose, congestion, stuffiness, clear mucous, and frequent sneezing.
The disease may be seasonal or perennial, occur sporadically after specific allergens exposures, and exist with allergic conjunctivitis. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is usually associated with cyclical changes in the environment.
*About 10 to 30% of the population has allergic rhinitis.
This step-by-step approach will help you find the trigger for allergic reactions:
- Proper identification of all allergens
- Avoidance measures to minimize allergen exposure
- Pharmacotherapy (medication) to control symptoms
- Immunotherapy (vaccines or allergy shots) in patients
- Special pharmaceutical therapies
- Surgery for patients with persistent nasal obstruction
6. Saddle nose
Saddle nose deformity refers to the collapse of the nasal bridge and loss of nasal height. Over time, saddle nose can worsen if left untreated and cause breathing issues.
Saddle nose symptoms may include:
- Nasal pain or discomfort
- Chronic crusting around your nose
- Turned-up nasal tip
- Horizontal crease
- Nasal septum perforation
Saddle nose deformity can be classified into three categories, namely:
- Type I – supra tip depression and columellar retraction
- Type II – loss of tip projection and septal support
- Type III – total loss of cartilage vault integrity and flattening of the nasal lobule
Complications of a nose injury
A forceful blow is enough to injure the nose and neck simultaneously. Complex injuries in the nose can cause problems that will require the attention of health care providers right away.
For example, cartilage damage can cause a collection of blood formation. However, surgery is needed for an injury to correct the septum or nose that is bent out of shape.
A doctor may be able to return nasal bones to their normal position within the first two weeks after the break.
If you think you have a nose injury, follow these steps to reduce swelling:
- Breathe through your mouth and lean forward for blood to drain out.
- Apply cold compresses or ice packs immediately after the injury.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers that can decrease the pain.
- Don’t play any sports for the first two weeks after treatment.
When you have a nose injury, you must check for other damage related to the face, head, and neck. It may result in an eye injury, broken cheekbone, an injury to the teeth or mouth, or a cervical spine injury.
You can prevent a nose fracture with reasonable care, such as wearing seat belts, using the recommended safety equipment, and restraining children from causes that can lead to an injury.
1. What causes injury in the nose?
Some common causes of nose injury include motor vehicle accidents, contact sports, falls, physical fights, and more. An injury in the nose can lead to bruising and swelling under the eyes.
2. How do you treat a damaged nose?
After the injury, apply cold compresses or ice packs immediately. Repeat this at least four times daily for 1 to 2 days and wrap the ice in a washcloth to stop frostbite.
3. How long does a nose injury last?
Most broken noses will get cured with at-home treatments and a follow-up visit with the doctor. Swelling in your nose should decrease in a few days, and bruises around your eyes should disappear in 2 to 3 weeks.
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