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If you think you may have broken your nose, take these steps to reduce pain and swelling before seeing your doctor:
- Act quickly. When the break first occurs, breathe through your mouth and lean forward to reduce the amount of blood that drains into your throat.
- Use ice. Apply ice packs or cold compresses immediately after the injury, and then at least four times a day for the first 24 to 48 hours to reduce swelling. Keep the ice or cold compress on for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Wrap the ice in a washcloth to prevent frostbite. Try not to apply too much pressure, which can cause additional pain or damage to your nose.
- Relieve pain. Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), as necessary.
- Keep your head up. Elevate your head — especially when sleeping — so as not to worsen swelling and throbbing.
You can help prevent a nose fracture with these guidelines:
- Wear your seat belt when traveling in a motorized vehicle, and keep children restrained in age-appropriate child safety seats.
- Wear the recommended safety equipment, such as a helmet with a face mask, when playing hockey, football or other contact sports.
- Wear a helmet during bicycle or motorcycle rides.