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Home » Emergencies»Accidently Inhaled

Accidently Inhaled or Ingested Foreign Bodies in Ear, Nose or Throat

When the kid starts moving around by way of crawling or walking, it brings much joy to the family, but at the same time the natural urge to explore everything in the suroundings sometimes becomes a major problem. By instinct the child puts everything into the mouth and this often results in a swallowed or inhaled foreign body. These instances often end up as emergencies.

All kinds of foreign bodies enter the ear, nose and throat. When the child starts walking and playing with his friends, he has the tendency to put things in his mouth or ear or accidentally inject something while playing with things.

An unbelievably large number of things can be encountered as foreign bodies. It leaves one wondering how it is even possible that such things enter the body

In the nose, metallic objects like screws, nuts, ball bearings, beads, thermocol pieces, pulses, seeds, buttons, bindis, small parts of toys, leaves etc.can enter. Similarly, beads, pulses, match sticks, cotton, polythene pieces to insects, accidentally enter the ear.

Foreign bodies encountered in the food and respiratory passages are accidentally ingested such as coins, fish bones, pins, safety pins, metallic objects like nails, screws, toy parts, meat bones in older children. Accidentally inhaled foreign bodies include peanuts, popcorns, whistle.

Q. What precautions are necessary to avoid such a problem?
Ans. Precaution is better than cure, thus it is better to try and prevent such an eventuality. As soon as the child starts crawling, keep all kinds of small objects out of his reach. Keep the floor clean and remove small things like buttons, pins, beads etc., which we tend to throw about carelessly.

Start training the child not to put things into his/her mouth, ears or nose, as soon as possible.

Be watchful, while the child is moving around the house. You can avoid minor accidents by just a little carefulness.

Q. What are the steps to be taken if the child puts something into his ear or nose?
Ans. 1. Do not panic.
2. Do not try to remove things on your own.
3. Do not put things (oil, potassium permanganate etc.) into the nose or ear for natural removal
4. Consult an ENT specialist immediately.

Q. When to suspect that there might be a missed foreign body in the nose?
Ans. Sometimes a foreign body is found in the nose. If a child is having a discharge from only one nostril and is having difficulty in breathing from that side, the cause is the foreign body.

Complaints of earache, repeated picking at ears and occasional discharge from the ears can be due to the foreign body. You need to consult an ENT specialist.

Q. What indicates that the child has swallowed something?
Ans. The child may begin drooling, may complain of slight pain in the throat on swallowing and may refuse to eat anything.

Do not give him anything to eat or drink, because the foreign body may have to be removed under general anesthesia, which requires that the child have an empty stomach for a few hours.

Do not feed bananas or soft food, unless you are told to do so. Take the child to an ENT specialist who would like to take a few x-rays to find out where the foreign body. is. A metallic body will be picked up on the x-ray.

Your child may have to undergo an endoscopic procedure where an endscope is passed into the food passage through the mouth and the foreign body is removed by special forceps.

Sometimes the foreign body goes down into the stomach or below. Follow the advise of your doctor in this case.

Q. What if the child has accidentally inhaled something?
Ans. Be careful while giving nuts, chocolates to small children. The child may have difficulty in breathing and may wheeze while breathing.

Again do not give your child anything to eat or drink and immediately contact a specialist.

Q. How are the foreign bodies removed? Is it an open surgery?
Ans. No, the objects are removed through endoscopes, which are rigid tubes passed through the mouth, either into the food passage or the respiratory passage, as the case may be. The procedure is done under general anesthesia.

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