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Health Knowledge and Encyclopedia
At your local Pearn's Pharmacy we can offer advice on most general health matters. You can also use our Health Encyclopaedia to provide you with the tools and links you need to pinpoint symptoms and get a full explanation of a suspected condition.
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A broken nose is a common injury, usually caused by a blow to the face. Most broken noses will heal naturally and can be managed at home.
The swelling should go down within a week, and the bruising should disappear after two weeks.
This page describes the signs of a broken nose and gives advice on what to do.
How do I know if I’ve broken my nose?
A broken nose will be painful, swollen and red. Other typical symptoms are:
Most broken noses can be cared for at home, and medical treatment isn't necessary, especially if the skin and septum (wall between the nostrils) are still intact.
Caring for your nose at home
You can usually manage your broken nose at home, following the below advice:
Don't wear glasses until the swelling has gone down, and don't attempt to straighten the nose yourself.
When to see your GP
Call your GP if:
When to go to hospital
Go to your nearest accident and emergency department if:
Severely broken nose
If the bone is badly broken or the skin has broken, the nose will probably need medical treatment in hospital. An X-ray may be necessary, although in many cases it isn't.
The doctor may be able to realign your nasal bones in their office, using special nasal instruments. A local anaesthetic will be injected into your nose to numb it. Any broken skin will need stitches.
If your nose is bleeding continuously, a doctor will pack your nose with a soft gauze pad to stop the nosebleed. This will be removed by your doctor in two to three days. You musn’t try to remove it yourself.
If your nose has broken in a few places or become deformed, or if the inside structure of your nose has become damaged, you may need to go into an operating theatre to have the bones surgically realigned. This will be done using a general anaesthetic (you are put to sleep).
However, if you’re a boxer, footballer or other sportsman who is likely to break their nose again, it may not be worth having your deformed nose corrected. Speak to your doctor about this.
If you’ve severely broken your nose and received medical treatment for this, you’ll need to see a specialist for follow-up, to check that the bones are healing in the correct position. You may see an ear, nose and throat doctor, and oral and maxillofacial surgeon, or a plastic surgeon.
Domestic abuse: getting help
A broken nose usually results from a hard blow to the face, so it’s a suspicious injury in women or children.
If you’re worried because you think that a woman or child may be a victim of abuse, offer your support and encourage them to talk. For more advice, read Violence at home: helping a friend.
If you’re a victim of abuse yourself, you can talk to your doctor or call the 24-hour Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 80 10 800. For more advice, read Getting help for domestic violence.
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