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Foreign Body in the Nose

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Foreign bodies in the nose are seen with children in the age of 1 to 5 years old. Foreign bodies should be removed immediately. As a parent you can try to blow the foreign body out using the so-called ‘kiss the child’ method that is very effective. If this method is not successful, the parents must call the doctor immediately.

Smaller children easily get a foreign body stuck in the nose. It is especially children in the age of 1 to 5 years this happens to. During the child’s play with rocks, pearls, food or the like, a foreign body can end up in the nose. It can be the child itself or a playmate that pushes the foreign object into the nose.

The parents discover the accident when the child starts to cry or tell them it has something stuck in the nose. In most cases, the parents can se or feel the foreign body but the parents may have doubts whether something is stuck in the nose. If you have doubts, you should always contact the doctor. Foreign bodies in the nose should be removed immediately.

If the parents discover that the child has a foreign body in the nose, problems arise within a few hours. The foreign body irritates the mucous membrane in the nose, which then swells up, and produces secrete. The child’s nose clogs up and it runs with, at first, clear and later thick smelly secrete. If the foreign body is not removed, the blood supply to the nose can be damaged and permanent damage to the child’s nose may arise.

If the child tries to remove the stone or the pearl, it usually ends up pushing the foreign body further into the nose. The outcome is rarely better when father or mother tries to remove it – so do not try to do this! You can remove the foreign body from the child’s nose using the ‘kiss the child’ method that is described under here.

The removal of a foreign body in the nose at the doctor’s is by the use of specially angled tweezers, tong or suction. Often, children are very uneasy during the procedure. This heightens the risk of pushing a foreign body further up the nose or that the mucous membrane is damaged with pains and nosebleed as a result. Often, the child must be held in place. In rare cases, it can be necessary to tranquilise the child, before it is possible to remove the foreign object.

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What can you do?

There is a very effective method for parents to use called ’kiss the child’. The parents tell the child that they are going to blow air into the child’s mouth by giving them a big kiss. The mother or the father closes hers or his lips around the child’s open mouth, as with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. By using a finger you close the nostril that has no foreign object in it. You then give one short, powerful blow to blow the foreign body out. Several attempts may be necessary. The method removes foreign bodies with 3 out of 4 children.

Often, larger children can blow the foreign body out themselves while blocking the other nostril.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

You must always call the doctor immediately, if the child has something stuck in the nose that you cannot remove by yourself.

Contact the doctor immediately

If you cannot remove the object yourself.