This discussion is about falls, crashes, and what you can do about them. This may make you think we are talking only about the falls and crashes of others, but we are speaking about everyone in general. The seven year old currently learning to ride a bike, the seventeen year old who is fixated on their skateboard, the thirty-seven year old who slipped on some ice, and the seventy-seven year old who just fell in the kitchen are all going to benefit from the topics discussed here.
Now, we could discuss how to deal with all sorts of issues, but we are going to talk about handling a blow to the nose. This is almost always going to be injured in a fall because we can rarely prevent our heads from striking nearby objects. Hitting the nose is tremendously disorienting because it causes such a horrific pain response (we are all familiar with that instant sense of “head swelling” that is the result of a strong blow to the nose).
Hitting the nose is also bad because the nose is relatively fragile. It is made up of fleshy tissue, cartilage, and bone. This is why we can do serious damage (such as breaking the nose) but we can also damage it in a way that can cause it to remain permanently disfigured.
For example, we can take a fall and:
- Get a “bloody nose” that is the result of miniscule tears in the tissue inside of the nostrils or lower sinuses;
- Hit the nose and cause all of the soft tissue to swell and bruise;
- Fracture the nose and require resetting or even surgical repair; and
- Hit the nose and form a blood clot in the central wall (septum) that causes permanent damage and disfigurement.
This means that any fall and subsequent blow to the nose has to be taken seriously, and this means assessing the issue immediately.
If you, or anyone else, harms their nose you should get them into a horizontal or prone position to attempt to arrest any bleeding. Remember that it can often be dangerous to just move a body that is unconscious or which has sustained a serious injury to the head or neck. Speaking with the person who has fallen to determine their ability to move or sense their surroundings is imperative to safety. After that you can offer help with their n ose.
If the nose is not disfigured or out of its normal position you can often stop bleeding by applying pressure to the nose (gently pinching the nostrils together). If the bleeding is persistent and not slowing after 20 minutes, it is time to head to a doctor. If you see signs of damage to the skin on the exterior it also means you have to head to a physician immediately.
Noses have many small capillaries that can bleed profusely when injured and it is best to ensure that you don’t need stitches or further medical intervention when bleeding is profuse on the inside or outside of the nose.
If the nose appears to be broken it is not something that you can handle on your own. The best approach to use with an injured nose of this kind is to leave it alone and head to the hospital. There the doctors can reset the nose if the injury is minor, but may need to do some surgical repair after the injury has healed.
Anyway you look at the situation, a fall that harms the face is a major problem. Never ignore this sort of injury and always seek medical assistance as soon as possible.