Nasal Packing in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

After a nose injury or surgery, gauze is packed high up into the nose to stop the bleeding. Your doctor will remove the packing after it has been in place for a few days.

Your child's face may look puffy. And the skin near your child's eyes may be bruised. This may last for many days. But it will fade over time.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Follow your doctor's advice for taking care of the packing. Your doctor may want to take it out at his or her office.

Activity

  • Make sure your child is not active for 1 week or until your doctor says it is okay. Don't let your child do things like ride a bike, jog, or dance.

Medicines

  • Your child will need to avoid certain drugs for 3 weeks after surgery, unless your doctor gives you other instructions. Do not give aspirin or drugs that have aspirin in them. And avoid anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
  • Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
    • Do not give your child two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • If you think the pain medicine is making your child sick to his or her stomach:
    • Have your child take the medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.

Other instructions

  • Do not let your child blow his or her nose for 1 week after surgery.
  • Do not let your child put anything into his or her nose.
  • If your child must sneeze, have your child open his or her mouth and sneeze normally.
  • After the packing is removed, use saline (saltwater) nasal washes to help keep your child's nasal passages open. This will wash out mucus and bacteria. You can buy saline nose drops at a grocery store or drugstore. Or you can make your own at home. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 2 cups of distilled water. If you make your own, fill a bulb syringe with the solution. Put the tip into your child's nostril, and squeeze gently. Then have your child blow his or her nose.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has severe trouble breathing.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • The outer dressing under your child's nose soaks through with blood and needs to be changed more than every 15 minutes.
  • Your child has a fever with a stiff neck or a severe headache.
  • Your child is sensitive to light or feels very sleepy or confused.
  • Your child has pain that does not get better after he or she takes pain pills.
  • Your child has a fever over 38°C.
  • Your child has double or blurred vision, cannot close his or her eyes, or has eye pain.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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