I am an ENT surgeon.Some of the commonest emergency problems I face is ,foreign objects in ear nose or throat.
A foreign body is any object placed in the body where it’s not supposed to be.
Children swallow coins ,button battery ,beads,other play objects.
These can get stuck in the esophagus.
Or pass to the stomach and pass away in their poop.That’s the better way.
If it gets stuck,it will need to be removed.
The main problem is timely detection.
Button battery is dangerous .If kept for more than 3 hours can burn the lining of the food pipe and can be life threatening.
Delayed removal can lead to chemical burn in the food pipe (from the leaching button).
Other dangerous objects include:
- Safety pins,
- Medical foil
- Sharp objects.
How to suspect that child may have swallowed any of this?
- Difficulty breathing
- Vomiting food
- Unable to eat
When should you worry and hurry
- Child turning blue gasping for breath
- Hoarse cry
Rush to your nearest emergency.In case of last two the object may be in the airway.
What can you do if you suspect a swallowed object and child is not able to confirm?
Visit the nearest emergency.
The doctor can get an Xray done of the neck ,chest ,abdomen.This detects a radio opaque foreign body like coin magnet, any metallic object.
For things made of nonmetallic substance a CT scan may be needed.
A child may have fish bone stuck in throat.Your ENT doctor will be able to remove this.If not removed antibiotics may be needed.
Chicken or mutton bone need urgent intervention
Precautions parents should take:
- Watchful independence of child.
- Always check his toys for loose pieces.
- Never give them small objects which they can insert in mouth to play with.This is especially important during the time they are teething.
- Never give coins ,magnets,safety pins to play with
- Avoid letting them play unsupervised.
- Visit your nearest emergency if in doubt. Precious minutes may be lost otherwise.
This information is meant for educational purpose and shouldn’t be taken as professional advice.Consult your doctor for personalized care
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