Object lodged in nose or ear

Object lodged in nose or ear

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We've all heard funny stories about babies and small children getting everything from a bean, a button, or a piece of cereal to an insect lodged in their nose or ear. But in reality this is serious business, with the potential to cause infection and long-term damage.

What should I do if my child gets something stuck in his ear or nose?

First, stay calm and try to reassure your child that it's no big deal. If the object is very close to the surface and clearly visible (and your child will sit still), tweezers are fine.

The biggest danger is that you'll push the bean or button or piece of cereal deeper while trying to get it out with a cotton swab or tweezers. So leave trickier extractions to a doctor. Doctors have tiny forceps and other instruments and methods.

If you can't easily retrieve the object, it's important to take your child to the doctor right away. Doctors can see what they're dealing with more easily early on, and some objects become harder to get out, the longer you wait. A bean can swell and become more difficult to remove, for example, and a small button battery can cause serious tissue damage.

Is it possible for something to get stuck without my child noticing?

Small children have a fondness for putting all kinds of things – from beads to popcorn kernels – up their nose or into their ears, and they may not realize that something has gotten stuck.

One clue: You may notice that one side of your child's nose is runny, and the discharge is likely to smell bad. (If a cold is responsible for the runny nose, both sides will probably be runny.) He may cry because of the pain or discomfort, or get a nosebleed.

If something is lodged in his ear, your child may complain that things sound funny. He may also pull on his ear or have drainage or discomfort.

How will the doctor get it out?

There are a number of techniques and tools that can be used. The doctor will look in your child's ear or nose and then decide how best to proceed. Some possibilities:

  • Blocking the open nostril and asking your child try to blow her nose. If your child can't, you may be instructed to cover your child's mouth with your own and give a short, quick breath to dislodge the object as the doctor closes the open nostril. (These are two techniques you can try at home before heading to the doctor's office, if you're comfortable giving them a go yourself.)
  • Using small, tweezer-like forceps; a thin, cotton-tipped swab; or a suction machine to remove the object. (If there's an insect in your child's ear, the doctor may use mineral oil to suffocate the insect first.)
  • Flushing the object out with water.
  • Using a magnet to remove a metal object.

If the procedure is especially problematic, your child may need to be sedated. An otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) may be needed.

After the object is out, your child's ear or nose will be examined again to make sure there's nothing else is in there. The doctor may prescribe nosedrops or eardrops, or antibiotic ointment to nip any infection.

How can I prevent this from happening?

Make sure all toys are age appropriate and supervise small children closely. Keep coins and other small items out of reach. And of course, teach your child that it's a bad idea to put anything in his nose or ears.

Watch the video: Bronchoscopic Foreign Body Removal -- BAVLS (June 2022).


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