Child care: How to care for a facial bruise

A facial bruise is a common injury among young children. It can also occur among older children with increased activity due to falls. A child with a facial bruise can be a cause for alarm among parents, but it is vital to be prepared to handle this injury.

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Assessment of a facial bruise

A facial bruise can occur almost instantaneously on certain parts of the head after injury such as the scalp which contains abundant blood vessels and closely adheres to the skull.

It is vital to check for loss of consciousness and make sure that the child knows who he/she is and what took place to assess if he/she had a serious injury to the head. A concussion can occur even if minimal bruising occurs. Make sure that the child can normally breathe if he/she has a facial bruise.

Facial bruise
A facial bruise can occur almost instantaneously on certain parts of the head after injury such as the scalp which contains abundant blood vessels and closely adheres to the skull.

Management of swelling

An ice pack is used to minimize the swelling from a facial bruise. Make sure that the pack is wrapped with a clean cloth or towel before it is applied on the face. Apply for 20 minutes at a time every 3-4 hours.

Monitor for complications

Depending on the location of the injury, a facial bruise might cause more serious injuries than what is initially seen. Sustaining a blow to the eye can disrupt the interior of the eye by causing bleeding or retinal detachment, resulting to loss of vision or even a black eye.

A doctor should be consulted if there are changes in the vision. A bruised nose or cheek might indicate a fractured bone. In case the child complains of intense pain or the area seems asymmetrical than the other side of the face, it is vital to seek medical care.

A direct blow to the head can cause damage to the brain. In such instances, monitor for vomiting, lethargy, confusion, breathing changes or loss of consciousness. In case there is bruising around the mouth, check the teeth to ensure that they are intact.

Ongoing treatment

A facial bruise is treated using an ice pack during the initial 24-48 hours and followed by heat to allow the tissue to reabsorb the blood. The bruising is expected to last for 1-2 weeks.

The bruises initially start as bluish in color and later changes to green, yellow and brown before completely fading. You can provide acetaminophen to manage mild discomfort and set an appointment with a doctor in case the pain increases or other indications of complications occur.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a facial bruise is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage facial injuries including a facial bruise, register for a first aid and CPR course with Red Deer First Aid.

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