The question:
I stuck a pea in my nose when I was a child. My preschool-age daughter is very experimental, and I'm worried she will do something similar. If it happens, what do I do? - Janice in Santa Fe

The pediatrician answers:
Children will commonly stick things in their noses or ears. If the foreign body is not removed, it can cause ulceration of tissues and chronic infection.

If you know -- or suspect -- your child has a foreign body in his/her nose or ear, take him or her to their doctor or to the emergency room. If the pediatrician, family physician, or ER doctor cannot remove the object, the child can be referred to an ENT specialist.

What the parent should not do is panic. Trying to remove the object yourself may accidentally make the situation worse, so I don't generally recommend it unless the object is very easy to grasp and easy to remove.

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