Cuts and Wounds of the Nose
Children may get minor cuts and wounds to the outside part of the nose while playing,
climbing, or joining in sports activities. Most of these injuries can be handled at
home with simple first aid treatment.
First aid for shallow cuts and wounds
To treat shallow cuts and wounds:
Calm your child and let them know you can help.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean, running water. Scrub your hands for
at least 20 seconds.
Apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for several minutes to stop bleeding.
Wash the cut area well with soap and water. Don't scrub the wound. Remove any dirt
particles from the area and let the water from the faucet run over it for several
minutes. A dirty cut or scrape that is not fully cleaned can cause infection and scarring.
For a lot of bleeding, press on the wound firmly for 10 to 15 minutes with a clean
cloth. Don't stop to look at the cut. If the cloth becomes soaked with blood, put
a new cloth on top of the old cloth. Don't lift the first cloth. Facial wounds often
Apply an antiseptic lotion or cream, once the bleeding has stopped.
Cover the area with an adhesive bandage or gauze pad. Change the dressing often.
Check the area each day and keep it clean and dry.
Don't blow on the wound. This can put germs into the wound.
Apply a cold or ice pack to the area of a direct blow or blunt trauma to the nose
that causes bruising and swelling every 1 to 2 hours for 10 to 15 minutes for the
first 24 hours. Wrap the cold or ice pack in a thin cloth or towel. Don't put ice
directly against the skin.
Have a healthcare provider check a wound, bruise, or a pocket of blood and fluid under
the skin (hematoma) that also involves the eye or eyes right away.
Prevent sun exposure to the wound. Or keep it shaded with a cap, for at least 6 months.
Use a sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 or more on healed
cuts and wounds. This is to help prevent scarring.
When should I call my child's healthcare provider?
Your child's healthcare provider will talk with you about treatment for cuts and wounds
of the nose that need more than minor treatment at home. But call your child's provider
for cuts and wounds of the nose that are:
Bleeding without stopping after 10 to 15 minutes of direct pressure, or that start
to bleed again
Deep or longer than 1/2 inch
Caused by a puncture wound, or dirty or rusty object
Filled with debris, such as dirt, stones, or gravel
Ragged or have separated edges
Caused by an animal or human bite
Very painful or if you suspect a fracture, or head or bone injury
Showing signs of infection, such as increased warmth, redness, swelling, or drainage
Causing trouble breathing through one nostril. This may be a sign of a septal hematoma
(bleeding within the tissue between the two nostrils). These usually need drainage
to prevent permanent deformity of the nose.
If your child is having a nosebleed, tilt your child's head forward slightly so that
they don't swallow blood. Pinch the nostrils shut by pressing on the soft sides of
the nose, not the hard bridge. Call the healthcare provider if the nosebleed does
not stop after 5 to 10 minutes of pinching the nostrils shut.
Also call your child's healthcare provider if:
Your child has not had a tetanus vaccine within the past 5 years, or if you are unsure
when your child's last tetanus shot was given
You are concerned about the wound or have any questions
Preventing nose injuries
To help prevent nose injuries in children:
Teach your child not to poke or place objects in the nose, such as cotton swabs or
Have your child wear protective face guards for sports activities that could cause
Teach children to never put their faces close to an animal's face or mouth