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First Aid for Foreign Object Inhaled

Last updated March 5, 2018

NIH

Foreign Object Inhaled is the accidental entry of foreign object into airways through the nostrils.


What is Foreign Object Inhaled?

  • It is the accidental entry of foreign object into airways through the nostrils. This condition may be mild or severe, requiring emergency medical attention, depending on where the object is lodged
  • The condition can lead to irritation, pain, and discharge from the nose. In many cases, Foreign Objects Inhaled are removed by a qualified medical professional

What are the Causes of Foreign Object Inhaled?

Accidental inhalation of toys (toy-parts), stones, beads, and other debris.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Foreign Object Inhaled?

The signs and symptoms of ‘Foreign Object Inhaled’ include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irritation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Discharge or bleeding from nose
  • Pain

How is First Aid administered for Foreign Object Inhaled?

Call 911 (or your local emergency number), or seek immediate medical attention. While awaiting help from a qualified medical professional, the following First Aid may be administered for ‘Foreign Object Inhaled’:

If the inhaled object causes choking:

  • Perform 5 back blows with the heel of the hand, between the shoulder blades of the victim
  • Perform 5 abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver)
    • Standing behind the person, grab the person around the abdomen with both hands, and one hand rolled into a fist
    • Have the person tip forward slightly and press the abdomen hard with an upward thrust, as if trying to lift the person up
  • Keep performing 5 blows and 5 abdominal thrusts alternatively, till the blockage is dislodged
  • If you are performing abdominal thrusts on yourself:
    • Hold fist of one hand with the other, a little above the navel
    • Bend over on a hard surface and move fist upward and inward

Who should administer First Aid for Foreign Object Inhaled?

The individual (himself/herself) with ‘Foreign Object Inhaled’ or someone nearby, or a medical health professional, can administer First Aid.

What is the Prognosis of Foreign Object Inhaled?

The prognosis is dependent on many factors; but, with timely help/intervention, it is usually good. 

How can Foreign Object Inhaled be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent ‘Foreign Object Inhaled’:

  • Avoid letting children play with small toys/toy-parts, in the absence of any constant adult supervision
  • Stay away from construction sites, or other places with heavy debris particulates that could be inhaled
  • Use a face mask in polluted areas
  • Learn to perform CPR and abdominal thrusts

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number), or seek medical help
  • Back blows or abdominal thrusts should be performed without delay, in cases of choking

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Nov. 26, 2013
Last updated: March 5, 2018