Facial Bruise (Contusion)

A bruise (contusion) happens when small blood vessels break open and leak blood into the nearby area. This can happen from a bump, hit, or fall. This may happen during sports, an accident, or during a fight. Symptoms often include changes in skin color (bruising), swelling, and pain. 

The swelling from the bruise should decrease in a few days. Bruising and pain may take several weeks to go away. 

Home care

  • If you have been prescribed medicines for pain, take them as directed.

  • To help reduce swelling and pain, wrap a cold pack or bag of frozen peas in a thin towel. Put it on the injured area for up to 20 minutes. Do this a few times a day until the swelling goes down. 

  • If you have scrapes or cuts on your face requiring stitches or other closures, care for them as directed.

  • For the next 24 hours (or longer if instructed):

    • Don’t drink alcohol, or use sedatives or medicines that make you sleepy.

    • Don’t drive or operate machinery.

    • Don't do anything strenuous. Don’t lift or strain.

    • Don't return to sports or other activity that could result in another head injury.

Note about concussions

Because the injury was to your head, it's possible that a concussion (mild brain injury) could result. Symptoms of a concussion can show up later. Be alert for signs and symptoms of a concussion. Seek emergency medical care if any of these develop over the next hours to days:

  • Headache

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Dizziness

  • Sensitivity to light or noise

  • Unusual sleepiness or grogginess

  • Trouble falling asleep

  • Personality changes

  • Vision changes

  • Memory loss

  • Confusion

  • Trouble walking or clumsiness

  • Loss of consciousness (even for a short time)

  • Inability to be awakened

  • Feeling "off" or slow as if in a daze

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as directed.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Swelling or pain that gets worse, not better

  • New swelling or pain

  • Warmth or drainage from the swollen area or from cuts or scrapes

  • Fluid drainage or bleeding from the nose or ears

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

Call 911

Call 911 if any of the following occur: 

  • Repeated vomiting

  • Unusual drowsiness or trouble awakening

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

  • Seizure

  • Worsening confusion, memory loss, dizziness, headache, behavior, speech, or vision

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