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Foreign body in the nose

Something stuck in the nose; Objects in the nose

 

This article discusses first aid for a foreign object placed into the nose.

Considerations

 

Curious young children may insert small objects into their nose in a normal attempt to explore their own bodies. Potential objects placed in the nose may include food, seeds, dried beans, small toys (such as marbles), crayon pieces, erasers, paper wads, cotton, and beads.

A foreign body in a child's nose can be there for awhile without a parent being aware of the problem. The object may only be discovered when visiting a health care provider to find the cause of irritation, bleeding, infection, or difficulty breathing.

 

Symptoms

 

Symptoms that your child may have a foreign body in his or her nose include:

  • Difficulty breathing through the affected nostril
  • Feeling of something in the nose
  • Foul-smelling or bloody nasal discharge
  • Irritability, particularly in infants
  • Irritation or pain in the nose

 

First Aid

 

  • DO NOT search the nose with cotton swabs or other tools. This may push the object further into the nose.
  • DO NOT use tweezers or other tools to remove an object that is stuck deep inside the nose.
  • DO NOT try to remove an object that you cannot see or one that is not easy to grasp. This can push the object farther in or cause damage.
  • Have the person breathe through the mouth. The person should not breathe in sharply. This may force the object in further.
  • Gently press and close the nostril that does NOT have the object in it. Ask the person to blow gently. This may help push the object out.  Avoid blowing the nose too hard or repeatedly.
  • If this method fails, get medical help.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Get medical help right away if:

  • The person cannot breathe well
  • Bleeding occurs and continues for more than 2 or 3 minutes after you remove the foreign object, despite placing gentle pressure on the nose
  • An object is stuck in both nostrils
  • You cannot easily remove a foreign object from the person's nose
  • You think an infection has developed in the nostril where the object is stuck

 

Prevention

 

Prevention measures may include:

  • Cut food into appropriate sizes for small children.
  • Discourage talking, laughing, or playing while food is in the mouth.
  • Do not give foods such as hot dogs, whole grapes, nuts, popcorn, or hard candy to children under age 3.
  • Keep small objects out of the reach of young children.
  • Teach children to avoid placing foreign objects into their noses and other body openings. 

 

 

References

Cukor J, Manno M. Pediatric respiratory emergencies. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 168.

Thomas SH, Goodloe JM. Foreign bodies. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al., eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 60. 

 
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    Animation

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    What to do when kids put things in their nose - Animation

    Kids often put things up their noses besides their fingers that can get stuck up there. I'm Dr. Alan Greene and let's talk about how to get things out. One of my own children put 5 peas up his nose. If there are things that are stuck up in the nose, if you can still see them, you grab a pair of tweezers and gently try to pull them out. If you can't see them, you might have some help by closing the other nostril and having them blow out hard to get it where you can see it and then pull it with tweezers. But if they're up there, you can't see them, you can't get them out, it's time for a trip to the doctor. They have different tools that'll enable them get them out more easily. With the peas in my son, we used a little nose vacuum and got them out one by one.

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    Nasal anatomy - illustration

    The nasal cavity is the first part of the respiratory system where air enters to begin the breathing process. The nasal conchae are so called for their shell-shaped structure. The conchae form the lateral walls of the nasal cavity.

    Nasal anatomy

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  • What to do when kids put things in their nose

    Animation

  •  

    What to do when kids put things in their nose - Animation

    Kids often put things up their noses besides their fingers that can get stuck up there. I'm Dr. Alan Greene and let's talk about how to get things out. One of my own children put 5 peas up his nose. If there are things that are stuck up in the nose, if you can still see them, you grab a pair of tweezers and gently try to pull them out. If you can't see them, you might have some help by closing the other nostril and having them blow out hard to get it where you can see it and then pull it with tweezers. But if they're up there, you can't see them, you can't get them out, it's time for a trip to the doctor. They have different tools that'll enable them get them out more easily. With the peas in my son, we used a little nose vacuum and got them out one by one.

  • Nasal anatomy

    Nasal anatomy - illustration

    The nasal cavity is the first part of the respiratory system where air enters to begin the breathing process. The nasal conchae are so called for their shell-shaped structure. The conchae form the lateral walls of the nasal cavity.

    Nasal anatomy

    illustration

A Closer Look

 

    Talking to your MD

     

      Self Care

       

        Tests for Foreign body in the nose

         

         

        Review Date: 1/12/2015

        Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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