Nose - objects in

Alternative names
Foreign body in the nose

Definition
First aid for a foreign object inserted 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 may include food, seeds, dried beans, small toys, crayon pieces, erasers, paper wads, cotton and beads.

A foreign body allowed to remain in the nose may lead to irritation and infection. The child may have difficulty breathing.

Symptoms

     
  • foul-smelling or bloody nasal discharge  
  • difficulty breathing through the affected nostril  
  • irritation  
  • sensation of something in the nostril

First Aid

  1. Do not probe the nose with cotton swabs or other tools. Doing so may push the object further into the nose.
  2. Have the victim breathe through the mouth. He or she should avoid breathing in sharply (which may force the object in further).
  3. Once it is determined which nostril is affected, gently press the other nostril closed and have the victim blow gently through the affected nostril. Avoid blowing the nose too hard or repeatedly.
  4. If this method fails, get medical help.

Do Not

     
  • DO NOT try to remove an object that is not visible and easy to grasp; doing so may push the object farther in or cause damage to tissue.  
  • DO NOT use tweezers or other instruments to remove an object lodged deeply in the nose.

Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if

     
  • You cannot easily remove a foreign object from the victim’s nose.  
  • You suspect an infection in the nose after removal of a foreign object from the victim’s nose.

Prevention

     
  • Keep small objects out of the reach of infants and toddlers.  
  • Discourage your child from putting foreign objects into body openings.

 

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 2, 2012
by Arthur A. Poghosian, M.D.

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