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Foreign Bodies In The Nose

Curious young children may insert small objects into their nose in a normal attempt to explore their own bodies. Potential objects placed in the nose may include food, seeds, dried beans, small toys (such as marbles), crayon pieces, erasers, paper wads, cotton, and beads.

A foreign body allowed to remain in the nose may lead to irritation, bleeding, and infection. The child may have difficulty breathing.


  • Difficulty breathing through the affected nostril
  • Feeling of something in the nose
  • Foul-smelling or bloody nasal discharge
  • Irritability, particularly in infants
  • Irritation or pain in the nose

First Aid

  • Do not search the nose with cotton swabs or other tools. Doing so may push the object further into the nose.
  • Have the person breathe through the mouth. He or she should avoid breathing in sharply, which may force the object in further.
  • Once you known which side of the nose is affected, gently press the other nostril closed and have the person blow gently.
  • Avoid blowing the nose too hard or repeatedly.
  • If this method fails, get medical help.


  • DO NOT try to remove an object that you cannot see or is not easy to grasp. This can push the object farther in or cause damage to tissue.

  • DO NOT use tweezers or other tools to remove an object that is stuck deep inside the nose.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Seek immediate medical help if:

  • Bleeding develops and continues beyond 2 or 3 minutes after removal of the foreign object, despite placing gentle pressure on the nose
  • You cannot easily remove a foreign object from the person's nose
  • You think an infection has developed in the nostril that inhaled the foreign object


  • Discourage children from putting foreign objects into body openings.
  • Keep small objects out of the reach of infants and toddlers.

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