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Foreign bodies in otorhinolaryngology

These accidents are frequent in children, especially in children under 3 years of age. We often find children, 2 or 3 years old, with foreign bodies in their ears, such as pieces of plasticine, beads from necklaces; in the nose it is also frequent to find this type of objects, as well as small pieces of Lego or other removable toys, which are usually inserted by the children themselves or by a playmate. It is very important that parents do not try to remove them, as they must have the appropriate instruments, since an attempt to remove them on their part may push the object further and worsen the situation.

They should go to an otolaryngology office and, with the appropriate instruments for each case and the experience of a specialist, proceed to its removal. Sometimes it is necessary to instill a little local anesthesia and, on many occasions, to resort to general anesthesia, due to the difficulty of removing the object. We can also find an insect in the ear canal, even with egg laying inside. If the insect moves and bothers the patient, a drop of alcohol or oil should be instilled so that it dies and does not bother the patient until it is removed by the specialist. Special mention should be made of seeds or nuts, which become hydrated in contact with the mucous membranes, multiplying their size and making their removal more difficult. For this reason, nuts should not be given to small children, since in case of aspiration and passage into the bronchi it is necessary to perform a bronchoscopy (inserting a tube through the bronchi) to extract the foreign body (a procedure not without risk, apart from requiring general anesthesia). Therefore, parents should keep the following information in mind

  • Do not give nuts to small children.
  • Avoid small toys or toys with small parts.
  • Never try to remove the foreign body, but leave it in the hands of the specialist.