This is mainly found with children, although foreign objects can happen with anybody. A foreign object injury is quite self-explanatory, something is in a place where it should not be.


If there is an object actually inside the eyeball, around the eyeball or the foreign body is large, then leave it alone. Never try and remove the object in any situation like this, as it is extremely likely that you will cause more damage than good. The damage you could cause could be life-changing for the patient, such as nerve damage and/or blindness. Therefore you should either call the Emergency Medical Services or take them to a hospital as soon as possible.


Smaller foreign objects such as pieces of grit and dirt may be able to be washed out. However, make sure that neither you nor the patient themselves rubs the eye, as again, it will cause more damage. If there is a lump of grit underneath the top eyelid you may be able to gently pull the top eyelid away and hold it over the bottom eyelid. This should brush off the piece of dirt.

In minor cases, you will be able to tilt the head to one side and gently pour clean water, ideally saline solution or proper eyewash, into the eye. When doing this, be sure not to gush the liquid onto the eyeball as this can be quite distressing to the patient – especially if they are young. Constantly talk and explain to them what you are doing. It may seem a little bit cruel what you are doing, but you do need to try and get the dirt out. If in doubt or if there are any problem with the eyes, then seek medical help straight away.


With the ears, it is more common with children that you get things pushed into the ears. However, children with foreign objects stuck in their ears are not the only cases you see. Other things that can happen such as insects getting into the ear canal. If someone has something in their ear, it can affect their hearing, but also it can affect their balance. If you can easily get it out, then tilt their head and just let the item fall out. But don’t haphazardously try and get it out with your fingers. This can end up pushing the foreign object further into the ear. This may make the situation a lot worse; their hearing could even be permanently affected if you push it too far.

Other things that get stuck in the ear are things like cotton buds. If again you can tilt the head and it falls out, great. If it is still there, try gently pulling it out with tweezers, but be very careful. When something like an insect is lodged in the ear, tilt the head to one side and pour a little bit of water into the ear canal. If you only use enough to just fill the canal, you should be able to allow the insect to float up and out.


Again, this commonly happens with children. They may be playing around and they push something into their nose. If it will easily come out, allow it to come out. If not, you will have to get them to the emergency medical services to have it removed. Should you start using your fingers you might well push it in further and cause more damage. Sometimes when things get stuck into the nose they might start bleeding and then you can treat for nosebleeds. But also with things going into the nose, this can affect the sound of the breathing, particularly when they are breathing through their other nostril.

To summarize, if the foreign object can be removed very easily without damage then proceed to do so. If not then you need to keep them calm. Then get them to the medical professionals and they will remove the item.

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