It goes without saying that a good smack in the face is the last thing anyone wants to have on their daily itinerary, and for a good reason. A facial injury can be disfiguring, on top of inconvenient and painful, serving as a reminder for the rest of your days why so many different sports have decided to include full face masks on their helmets. How you choose to deal with a facial injury can set the stage for how long your recovery time will be, and how well your recovery efforts end up working out. To maximize your potential for proper healing, certain factors should be considered and their implications dealt with.
Here are some of such factors:
Figure out the level of treatment required.
Depending on the severity of the injury based on visual and physical indicators like a misshapen nose or localized pain, it might be prudent to go to the emergency room to have professionals put you through triage. If applying pressure to the area of the injury causes intense pain, or it seems as if there may be bone damage, don’t delay going to the hospital. If the bones in your face set improperly since you decided to tough it out at home, you’ll require much more intense care than what you were trying to avoid by dealing with it yourself. Extreme pain, excessive swelling that doesn’t dissipate within a few days, as well as consistent discoloration and bruising, are all signs that this has gone past what the average person can deal with.
Give necessary medical care immediately.
Don’t delay treating your injury. There are steps to be taken regardless of the level of severity. Most facial trauma is well-served by the application of a cold pack to help stimulate tissue repair, as well as reduce swelling. Specialized ice packs should be used. The best round facial ice packs won’t agitate the area further while still delivering a noticeable benefit to both healing, as well as symptoms of pain. Any puncture or open wounds should be disinfected and bandaged immediately to stave off infection as well.
Don’t move bones yourself.
Any misshapen or problematic bones shouldn’t be set back into place or moved yourself, as most people lack the kind of medical training required to understand the complex structures that lay directly underneath the skin. Only a medical professional should be charged with ensuring proper bone placement post-injury.
Other smaller tips include avoiding keeping your head elevated even while sleeping, drinking alcohol, using a sauna/hot tub/other sources of warmth, avoiding NSAIDs, as well as avoiding smoking. All of these small things won’t do your body any favors and instead put more stress, which results in less efficient use of resources during the recovery period. Try to take things easy and avoid anything that will use up excess energy.
As long as you keep your wits about you, there’s no reason for a facial injury to turn into something you’ll have to remember for the rest of your life. Should you require advanced treatment, the hospital is your first line of defense. Minor injuries are perfectly treatable in the comfort of your own home. If you’re trying too hard to figure out whether or not you should go to the emergency room, the answer is more than likely ‘yes.’