Object in a Child's Nose: Care Instructions

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An object in the nose can irritate the inside of the nose. It can cause infection or nosebleeds. Your child may get a stuffy nose, and thick fluid may come out of the nose.

Some objects cause more problems than others. Batteries can release chemicals that cause damage. Beans and other foods can expand and become hard to remove.

After the object has been removed, your child's nose may be stuffy, slightly tender, and swollen. But these symptoms should get better in a day or two.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Have your child breathe moist air from a cool-mist humidifier, a hot shower, or a sink filled with hot water. Follow the directions for cleaning the humidifier.
  • Give your child an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), as needed. No one younger than 20 should take aspirin. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness. Do not give naproxen (Aleve) to a child younger than 12 unless your doctor says it's okay. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Make sure your child doesn't breathe in sharply through the nose. This could cause the object to choke them or block their airway.
  • If your doctor recommends it, give your child an oral decongestant or use a decongestant nasal spray to relieve stuffiness.
  • Do not give two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • If your child is over 12 months of age, you can place an extra pillow under the upper half of their body. This may decrease stuffiness.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of an infection in the nose, such as
    • Increased yellow, green, or brown drainage.
    • A fever.
    • Redness or swelling of the nose.
    • Bad-smelling discharge from the nose.
  • Your child has a fever with a stiff neck or a severe headache.
  • Your child has trouble breathing.
  • Your child's nose starts to bleed.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You think your child still has something in the nose.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.