Object in the Nose: Care Instructions

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An object in the nose can irritate the inside of the nose (mucous membranes) and cause infection or nosebleeds. You may get a stuffy nose, and thick fluid may come out of your 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.

Your nose may be stuffy, slightly tender, and swollen after the object has been removed. These symptoms should improve within a day or two.

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

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Breathe moist air from a humidifier, hot shower, or sink filled with hot water. Follow the directions for cleaning the humidifier.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve), as needed. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • If your doctor recommends it, take an oral decongestant or use a decongestant nasal spray to relieve stuffiness.
  • Do not take 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 your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Keep your head raised at night by sleeping on an extra pillow to decrease stuffiness.
  • If you think you still have something in your nose, contact your doctor. Do not put cotton swabs or other tools up your nose, because you may push the object farther into the nose.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

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

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

  • You think you still have something in your nose.
  • You do 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.