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 him or her know you can help.

  • Apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for several minutes to stop bleeding.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly.

  • Wash the cut area well with soap and water. Do not 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 scarring.

  • For a lot of bleeding, press on the wound firmly for 5 to 10 minutes with a clean cloth. Do not stop to look at the cut. If the cloth becomes soaked with blood, put a new cloth on top of the old cloth. Do not lift the first cloth. Facial wounds often bleed heavily.

  • Apply an antiseptic lotion or cream.

  • 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 cause germs to grow.

  • A direct blow or blunt trauma to the nose that causes bruising and swelling can be treated by applying a cold or ice pack to the area every 1 to 2 hours for 10 to 15 minutes for the first 24 hours. Do not put ice directly against the skin. 

  • A wound, bruise, or hematoma (a pocket of blood and fluid under the skin) that also involves the eye(s) should be checked by a healthcare provider right away.

  • 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 minutes of direct pressure, or that start to bleed again

  • A nosebleed that does not stop after 5 to 10 minutes of pinching the nostrils shut

  • Deep or longer than 1/2 inch

  • Caused by a puncture wound, or dirty or rusty object

  • Embedded with debris, such as dirt, stones, or gravel

  • Ragged or have separated edges

  • Caused by an animal or human bite

  • Excessively painful or if you suspect a fracture, or head or bone injury

  • Showing signs of infection, such as increased warmth, redness, swelling, or drainage

  • Trouble breathing through 1 nostril. This may be a sign of a septal hematoma. These usually need drainage in order to prevent permanent deformity of the nose. 

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 pencils.

  • Have your child wear protective face guards for sports activities that could cause injury.

Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRCEric Perez MDRita Sather RN

Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2019

© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.