First aid

Updated 09 February 2015

Foreign objects in the nose

Children often push small objects up their noses. This section discusses how these objects can be removed.

Children tend to push small objects up their noses. Adults sometimes pack bits of cotton into the nose nostril to stop bleeding. These often become lodged in the nose.

Suspect a foreign object if there is a foul-smelling green or yellow discharge from only one nostril. The nose may also be tender and swollen.

Home treatment

  • Do not attempt to inhale the object by forcefully breathing in. Breathe through the mouth.
  • Pinch the other nostril shut and try to gently blow the object out. Do not blow hard or repeatedly.
  • If the object is visible in the lower nostril, remove it with a blunt pair of tweezers. However, do not attempt this if a child is protesting as it may be pushed deeper into the nostril and cause further damage.
  • Spray a nasal decongestant in the affected nostril to reduce the swelling.

See your doctor if:

  • The object remains embedded.
  • A disc battery is stuck in the nose, even if removed successfully. Harmful chemicals can rapidly leak into the nose.


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