Foreign Bodies (Nose & Airway)

At the ENT, Sinus & Hearing Care Center, we recognize the seriousness and urgency surrounding foreign bodies lodged in the nose and airway, especially in children. These occurrences, although accidental, can quickly escalate into life-threatening situations. This comprehensive guide seeks to educate parents and caregivers about the dangers, signs, and immediate actions required in such situations.

Foreign Bodies (Nose & Airway)

The Menace of Foreign Objects in the Nose and Airway

Children, particularly those below five, are innately curious. This sense of wonderment often leads them to explore objects by smelling or ingesting them. Sadly, this can result in the unintentional insertion of foreign bodies into the nose or airway, making it one of the predominant causes of fatal accidents among young children.

Identifying Foreign Objects in the Nose

For many parents, the question arises: How can you tell if your child has inserted something into their nostril?

  • The foremost indication is nasal drainage that is limited to one nostril. This drainage might be bloody or emit an unpleasant smell.
  • The objects found in the nose usually range from soft items like tissues, erasers, clay, to pieces of toys.
  • Often, the insertion might result from the child’s innocent act of smelling the object.

Treatment for Foreign Bodies in the Nose

It’s imperative that if you suspect an object is lodged in your child’s nostril, you seek medical intervention. Specialists from facilities like ours utilize precise instruments or suction machines to safely extract the object. Following the removal, medical practitioners may recommend antibiotic ointments, oral antibiotics, or nose drops to avert potential infections.

Recognizing Foreign Objects in the Airway

It’s crucial to emphasize that foreign objects in the airway constitute a medical emergency demanding prompt response.

  • Initial symptoms might include gagging, coughing, wheezing, and a high-pitched inhalation sound known as stridor.
  • A child might also exhibit signs like neck scratching or grabbing.
  • Absence of initial symptoms doesn’t rule out potential threats. Continual vigilance is needed as the child might later show worsening cough, difficulty in speaking, hoarseness, breathing challenges, and even a bluish tint on the lips.

Most incidents arise when a child, driven by curiosity, places an object in their mouth. Upon deep inhalation, the object can get trapped in the trachea. Ingesting large food items, especially without fully developed teeth for proper chewing, poses a similar risk. Common culprits include:

  • Small toy parts
  • Grapes, seeds, nuts
  • Hot dogs
  • Pebbles
  • Buttons and coins

Addressing Foreign Bodies in the Airway

Without understatement, any foreign object obstructing the airway should be treated as a dire emergency. If a child can’t breathe or talk, and displays bluish lips, immediate action is required. While trying to remove the object can be a natural reaction, it’s paramount to call 911 simultaneously to ensure professional medical assistance. In extreme cases, surgical intervention might be necessary to ensure the object’s safe removal.

To conclude, awareness and prompt action are vital. At ENT, Sinus & Hearing Care Center, we urge parents and caregivers to maintain vigilance, especially with young children, to prevent such accidents and ensure their well-being.