There are three major types of nose injuries that can happen in adults and children: nose bleeds, nose fractures, and a deviated septum. Rarely, conditions like cleft lip or palate can indirectly cause nasal injuries and problems. Learn more about these injuries and how to treat them.
Types of nose injuries
Nose bleeds (epistaxis) are common in both adults and children. Because the blood vessels in the nose and nasal cavity are thin, they can easily be broken.
In children, nose bleeds are usually due to physical or traumatic injuries. Even an act as simple as nose picking can cause bleeding. Small children are often curious and may place objects into their mouth and nose. This can cause cause bleeding or, in extreme cases, suffocation. Never leave your child unattended while they are playing with small toys or eating. If you suspect a foreign object is inside your child’s nose or throat, contact emergency health services right away.
Other factors for nose bleeds include warm and dry weather, high elevation, certain medications, and infection. In adults, workplace exposure to chemicals, aspirin use, and rhinitis are common factors for nose bleeds. Typically, a nose bleed can be relieved by packing the nose with a tissue or cotton and applying pressure. A cold compress can be used to constrict the blood vessels and lessen bleeding.
If you experience frequent or heavy nose bleeds, consult your doctor or an ENT specialist for further observation and diagnosis.
The nose we see is made up of skin and cartilage; however, underneath are several thin bones. These bones give structure and protect the contents of the nasal cavity. Because of the prominence of the nose on the face and the thinness of the nasal bones, it is typically the first to be broken in accidents. In elderly patients, forward falls are a common cause, while children get nose fractures from sports-related activities.
A serious complication of a broken nose is the pooling of blood in the nasal cavity (septal hematoma). Nose fractures are often accompanied by nose bleeds, swelling, and bruising under the eyes. If you have recently been injured on the nose or face, consult a doctor as soon as possible to determine how serious the injury is.
Time is of the essence when it comes to severe nasal fractures. These fractures require surgery to re-set the bones within 10 days. If the bones are not re-set, there is a chance that they will heal improperly and result in a permanently crooked nose. For milder fractures, these can be re-set a week after the injury. Never attempt to straighten a broken nose yourself.
A deviated septum is another type of nose injury. The septum is the part of the nose cartilage that separates the passages into a left and a right side. When there is septum deviation, the division is not equal. Unlike nose bleeds and fractures, a deviated septum can be a result of traumatic injury or a birth deformity. Nasal plastic surgery can be a cause of septal deviation, while one example of a birth defect that causes septal deviation is bilateral cleft lip.
A deviated septum results in unequal airway passages. This can make breathing through the nose difficult. People with a deviated nasal septum may experience loud snoring, difficulty sleeping, nose bleeds, and postnasal drip. Treatment for a deviated septum is surgery (septoplasty).
Nose injuries are more common than we’d like to think. In most cases, the types of nose injuries mentioned here are due to accidents and physical injuries. Both adults and children can experience nose injuries and generally the treatment options are the same for both age groups. Because injuries are not always avoidable, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of these injuries and to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.