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Foreign Body, Nose (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

When to call the doctor

  • Most objects that become lodged in the nose should prompt a call to a doctor. Removal should usually not be attempted at home to avoid further injury.
  • If there is any concern that a portion of the object remains in the nose or nasal bleeding continues, a thorough exam should be performed by a qualified health care professional.
  • Persistent pain, bleeding, or discharge from the nostril should raise concern that the nasal passages have not been completely cleared. Many objects remain in the nose and cause few symptoms.
  • A rash below one nostril or unexplained, continuing sinus pressure should also prompt a thorough evaluation.
  • Your primary care health care professional may want to see the patient in their office or refer them to a local emergency department or other specialist. Do not expect any health care professional to be able to assess the situation adequately over the phone. If there is any concern for the presence of a foreign body in the nose, the person should be physically examined by a qualified medical professional.

When to go to the hospital

In the majority of cases a foreign object stuck in the nose will not be life-threatening. The affected person will have time to call a primary care doctor. The urgency of the situation primarily depends on the location of the object, the substance involved, and the symptoms.

  • If the foreign body has been inhaled into the person's throat and the person is choking, call 911.
  • If the object falls back into the throat and is swallowed, see a doctor for emergency care. A few of these objects can become lodged in the esophagus. If this occurs, the object will need to be either pushed down into the stomach or pulled out by a gastroenterologist.
  • An object that contains chemicals, such as button batteries, or the presence of food material also represents a more urgent situation.
  • Because the nasal passages are moist, objects such as beans will swell if they remain in a moist environment. This situation may result in increasing discomfort and a more difficult removal of the object.
  • Batteries can decompose enough in the body to allow the chemicals to leak out and cause burns.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/19/2013

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Foreign Body Removal, Nose »

Nasal foreign bodies that require removal are relatively common among pediatric patients and may also be seen in adult patients, most often those with psychiatric disease or developmental delay.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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