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Nose Foreign Body


Children like sticking things into their noses! Most commonly, this happens in children aged between 2 and 5 years. Sometimes parents see what happened, but other times it happens when no one is watching. If a foreign body has been present for a while, it causes smelly nasal discharge. So if a child whose nose was previously OK suddenly develops one-sided new smelly nasal discharge, it's almost certainly a foreign body!

If your child has inserted a battery, this needs to be removed as a matter of emergency. Batteries can leak and cause major damage to the nose. Make sure you seek immediate medical help if a battery is suspected.

How can a nose foreign body be removed?


You can try the kiss technique yourself. To do this, you need to close the child's good nostril with your finger, take a deep breath in, and breathe sharply and quickly into the child's mouth. As you blow into their mouth the child's voice box will close in response to the sudden rush of air, and the air that you blow in will be directed upwards, to the back of the nose, and the out through the open nostril (where the foreign body is). Hopefully, the sudden push of air from the back to the front of the nose on the side of the foreign body will push it out!


Your doctor can use a variety of instruments to access the foreign body. It's important that your child is cooperative during the removal. So before seeing your doctor, try to prepare your child for the removal. Tell them that the doctor will need to look in the nose and take the object out.

Sometimes children don't cooperate, despite best attempts by parents and doctors. If that is the case, they may need a general anaesthetic to remove the foreign body. You may have to wait a few days for a space in theatre. If your child has inserted a battery though, this will be removed as an emergency.

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