Nose Foreign Body Treatment

Call 911 if the person:

  • Is choking
  • Has difficulty breathing

For choking, see Choking Treatment.

1. Remove Object, if Possible

  • Have the person breathe through his or her mouth.
  • For adult with an object partially out of the nose, try to remove it with fingers or tweezers. Do not push it further into the nose.
  • For an object deeper in the nose, pinch the clear side of the nose closed. Have the person blow his or her nose hard several times. This may dislodge the object.
  • Do not try to grab or pull an object that is stuck up a child’s nose. You can try gently closing the unaffected nostril. Blow a puff of air into the child's mouth. Repeat as necessary.
  • If minor bleeding occurs after object removal, firmly pinch the nose shut for 10 minutes. You can also put a cold pack on the nose or cheeks for bleeding.

2. When to See a Health Care Provider

See a health care provider or go to a hospital emergency room if:

  • You can't remove the object or can only remove part of it.
  • The object poses immediate danger.
  • You're not comfortable removing a sharp object, such as a nose ring or stud or broken glass.
  • The person has a bloody nose that can't be stopped.
  • Bad smelling fluid draining out of the nose.

3. Follow Up

  • Call your health care provider if signs of infection appear.

If the nose is tender or stuffy:

  • Give extra fluids for 2 to 3 days.
  • Have the person breathe moist air from a humidifier or hot shower.
  • Have the person sleep with head elevated.
  • Ask your health care provider about using an oral decongestant or decongestant nasal spray.

If you seek medical help to remove the object:

  • The health care provider will use suction or another method to remove it. The person may need numbing drops placed in the nose or to be sedated.
  • The health care provider may prescribe nose drops or an antibiotic ointment.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on November 23, 2015

Sources

SOURCES:

University of Michigan Health System: "Objects in the Nose."

American Medical Association, Handbook of First Aid and Emergency Care, Random House, 2000.

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford: "Foreign Bodies in the Ear, Nose, and Airway."

Foreign Body in the Nose Information from eMedicineHealth.

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