A patient is brought to the nursing unit after surgery for a mandibular fracture. When the patient complains of a runny nose, the nurse should first:

Test drainage for glucose.

Explanation

• After sustaining a facial fracture, the patient may have rhinorrhea or otorrhea. If this occurs, leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) should be suspected. CSF contains glucose, while normal nose drainage does not.

• Many hospitals provide bedside testing strips, while other hospitals require a specimen be sent to the lab.

• Since the patient is at risk for CSF leakage, the other answer choices are not appropriate.

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