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First Aid: Something Stuck Between Nose and Throat

    First Aid: Something Stuck Between Nose and Throat

    The feeling that there’s something stuck between your nose and throat is quite uncomfortable. Assuredly you would like to get the object out safely and without complication. But how do you do that?

    The Anatomy of the Nose

    If you feel that there is something stuck between nose and throat, chances are that the foreign object is actually in your nose. This is because our nose is deep enough that it reaches the back of our face. For better understanding, here is the basic anatomy of the nose:

    • External meatus. This is the triangular part that we see in the center of the face.
    • External nostrils. These are the opening of the nose where the air enters. The nostrils are separated by the septum.
    • Septum. The part that separates the two nostrils. It is mostly composed of cartilage and soft bones.
    • Nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is a hollow organ at the back of the nose where air flows through.
    • Sinuses. Sinuses are also hollow organs in the nasal bones. They are air-filled. If there is mucus in them, it will drain into the nasal cavity.

    Knowing that there is more to our nose than the external meatus will help us understand why it is possible to get small objects stuck in it.

    For adults, the feeling that there is something stuck between nose and throat probably results from the accidental inhalation of small foods. For kids, however, the situation may be “intentional.” Many children are curious enough to purposely insert objects like beads and rocks in their nose.

    What to Do If There’s Something Stuck Between Nose and Throat

    If you feel that there is something stuck between nose and throat, the following might help:

    • Avoid poking the object. In some cases, a stuck object may not be visible and it will be very tempting to probe it. Avoid doing that, especially with items like cotton buds. Probing will only raise the risk of pushing the object further into the nose.
    • Don’t try to “breathe in” the object. Inhaling the object in the hope of “swallowing” it might not be helpful. The correct thing to do is to inhale through your mouth for the time being until the object is removed.
    • Very gently, blow out your nose. When there is something stuck between nose and throat, the best approach is to blow your nose very gently. Do not blow harshly and certainly not in a repeated manner. Close the unaffected nostril by applying slight pressure on it. Afterward, proceed to gently blow your nose.
    • If you can, remove the object using tweezers. Sometimes, whatever is stuck in the nose is visible. Try to remove it by using tweezers if it is large enough. If you feel like you are only going to push it further, do not force it.
    • Go to the hospital. If you have tried the methods above and you still feel like there is something stuck between nose and throat, go to the hospital.

    something stuck between nose and throat

    What to Do When It Happens to Children

    Older children will be able to tell you that there’s something stuck between nose and throat, but younger ones usually do not. You will be able to tell when something is stuck in the child’s nose if they:

    • Are having difficulty breathing through one of the nostrils
    • Complaints of irritation or a painful nose
    • Constantly points at the nose
    • Have a bloody or foul-smelling nasal discharge

    First Aid for Children with an Object Stuck in Their Nose

    Identify the object

    Once you have noted that there is something stuck between the nose and throat of your child, try to identify the object. Ask your child or their playmates. Most objects are not immediately serious, but if it is a button battery, bring your child to the hospital right away. This is because a button battery can cause burns and other serious harm when left for even just a few hours. If you cannot identify the object, consider it an emergency and bring your child to the hospital.

    Soothe your child to stop their crying

    If a child panics, they may cry. Crying may result in sniffling, which is equivalent to breathing in through one’s nose. Remember that it is important to breathe through the mouth when there is something stuck between the nose and throat. So, calm the child and remind them to breathe through their mouth.

    Check if the object is visible

    Sit the child down and make a visual inspection. Do not spend too much time on this step. Simply look if the object is visible. If it is not visible, bring your child to the hospital.

    Try to remove the object

    If you can see the object from one nostril, close the other nostril and ask your child to breathe in using their mouth and then blow out through the affected nostril. Remember to tell them they should blow gently. If this step does not work, avoid repeated blowing of the nose.

    Use tweezers

    If you can finally see the object and it is large enough to be removed by tweezers, do so gently and bluntly. If the object is too small, you only risk pushing it further.

    Go to the doctor

    If the object remains lodged, do not wait any longer. Go to the hospital to have your child checked.

    Risks and Complications

    When a foreign object remains lodged in the nose, the main concern is it may affect breathing. When you notice any of the signs below, immediately go to the doctor:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Breathlessness when talking
    • Rapid breathing
    • Feeling like you are about to pass out or feel faint

    Aside from this, a foreign object in the nose may also cause infection. The signs of infection are:

    • Pain in the nose or around it, sometimes extending to the cheekbones
    • Runny nose with foul-smelling discharge; there can also be blood
    • Swelling and redness around the nose
    • General “stuffy” feeling

    When there is something stuck between nose and throat and you were able to dislodge it, keep in mind that you still need to assess yourself or your child. If you develop bleeding, abnormal discharge, and rashes below the nostrils, go to the doctor. Same thing if you feel pressure in the sinuses.

    Learn more about First Aid and Healthy Habits here.

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    Sources

    Foreign object in the nose: First aid, https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid/basics/art-20056610#:~:text=Blow%20out%20of%20your%20nose,easily%20grasp%20it%20with%20tweezers., Accessed June 25, 2020

    What to do when your child has something stuck up their nose, https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/what-to-do-when-your-child-has-something-stuck-up-their-nose, Accessed June 25, 2020

    Foreign body in the nose, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000037.htm, Accessed June 25, 2020

    Foreign Body in Nose, https://www.southlakeent.com/services-procedures/pediatric/nose/foreign-body-in-nose, Accessed June 25, 2020

    Anatomy and Physiology of the Nose and Throat, https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=anatomyandphysiologyofthenoseandthroat-90-P02027, Accessed June 25, 2020

    Objects in the nose, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/objects-in-nose, Accessed June 25, 2020

    Foreign Bodies in the Ear, Nose, and Throat, https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=foreign-bodies-in-the-ear-nose-and-airway-90-P02035, Accessed Sept. 8, 2021

    Foreign Bodies in the Ear, Nose, and Throat, https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=90&ContentID=P02035, Accessed Sept. 8, 2021

     

     

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    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Sep 08, 2021
    Fact Checked by Vincent Sales