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Nose Foreign Body Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on January 15, 2020

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 their 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 their 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.