Foreign bodies in the Nose is a common problem in children, and sometimes in disturbed adults.
The child may insert a foreign body into the nose while at home or at school.
The foreign body may be Inorganic - like a bead or piece of thermocol or it could be Organic - like a pea, food item or seed etc.
Foreign bodies can also be classified as Inert - like a toy part or a bead or Active - like Button battery. Button batteries are among the most serious foreign bodies because the corrosive nature of the chemical in the battery tends to destroy nasal tissue and lead to local damage if left untreated, even to the extent of causing Nasal Septal Perforation.
How will you know?
The simplest would, of course, be when the child comes and tells you. Sometimes an elder sibling will inform you - somehow they always seem to know. Alternatively, you may get a call from school that your little one has somehow managed to insert something into her nostril.
In the absence of this information, thick, foul-smelling UNILATERAL (from only one nostril) discharge is an indicator that the child may be having something up the nostril.
What can you do?
Well, obviously the two things you MUST NOT do is
- Try to remove the foreign body with pincers etc - this will only push it further behind or damage the nostril and cause bleeding - this makes the ENT Specialists job of removing the foreign body more difficult and may turn a simple OPD procedure into a more complex one which may require a hospital admission.
Try not to excite the child, ask her to sneeze etc because foreign bodies can be unpredictable and if slippery, like many of them are - they may slip posteriorly or sometimes be inhaled by the child - this can be catastrophic.
You need to reassure the child and head off to the Emergency Department of the nearest hospital unless you know of an ENT Specialist who lives nearby.
The ENT Specialist will examine the child and determine the site, size, type of foreign body etc. It is most often possible to remove the foreign body in the OPD setting itself - there are specially designed instruments that the ENT specialist has which she uses to remove the foreign body.
There is a home remedy manoeuvre called the 'Parent's Kiss' whereby the parent forcibly closes off the unobstructed nostril and blows short puffs of air through the child's mouth with the hope of pushing out the foreign body.