Foreign Bodies in the Nose

  • What are foreign bodies in the nose?

    Children younger than five often experiment with their bodies by putting foreign objects into their nose. Sometimes they do it out of curiosity. Other times, they are copying other children. And occasionally, they unwittingly inhale the foreign body while trying to smell it.

    In most cases, the objects are soft or small such as tissues, clay, pieces of toys (Lego's are favorites), erasers and food.

  • Signs and symptoms 

    Your child may tell you he put something into his nose, or you may have to discover it on your own.

    The most common symptom of a foreign body in the nose is nasal drainage. The drainage appears only on the side of the nose with the object, and often has a bad odor. In some cases, your child may also have a bloody nose. Sometimes a whistling sound can be heard while your child is breathing.

  • Treatments

    Treatment of a foreign body in the nose involves prompt removal of the object by your child's physician.

    The following are some of the techniques that may be used by your child's physician to remove the object from the nose:

    • Using a machine with suction to help pull the object out
    • Inserting instruments into the nose to grasp or scoop out the foreign body

    After removal of the object, your child's physician may prescribe nose drops, antibiotic ointments or oral antibiotics to treat any possible infection.

    Review date: April 2009