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5-year-old blows nose and finds something she stuck up there six months ago

Little kids stick little things in their little noses. It’s one of the weird little mysteries and practically an inevitability of parenting a toddler or preschooler — understanding that one day a raisin, crayon, bead or pebble is going to find its way up a nostril. One mom found out the hard (and kind of gross) way that what goes in must come out, one way or another.

Katelyn Powell is doting mother to Khloe, a 5-year-old girl who is seriously way too cute. But for six months the little one had a decidedly un-cute runny nose that produced thick, foul-smelling snot. Two different doctors couldn’t seem to figure out what the culprit was even after scoping Khloe’s nose, and both prescribed antibiotics that didn’t seem to fix the problem.

Everyone was stumped, but when Khloe’s uncle was visiting and told the little girl to “blow [her] disgusting nose,” they all soon found out why antibiotics weren’t solving the problem. Antibiotics, while great for getting rid of stubborn infectious bacteria, are actually not so great for dislodging blackened, disintegrating safety pins, which is exactly what was causing the Powell family so much grief and likely an insane amount of money on tissues.

You can see some pictures of the dislodged doodad, but trust us — you don’t want to look at it when you’re eating.

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Khloe explained to her shocked mother that she had been building a castle with the safety pins six months prior to snot-rocketing one out of her nose, and had just forgotten all about it. Yuck! Also, poor thing, because there’s no way six months of grimy, thick snot gunking up your sinus cavities is ever comfortable. Indeed, her mother said in a post on Facebook that the little one — who has said herself that she’s feeling “100 percent” better — is healing like a champ.

Unsurprisingly — because this is the Internet, and the Internet is dark and full of horrors — Katelyn Powell is getting blowback for this incident, which is, of course, proof positive that she’s a crappy mom. Here’s why that’s not true.

Besides being a beyond common childhood behavior, shoving junk up a nostril just to see how far it will go and then forgetting to mention it or forgetting it’s there isn’t the sole prerogative of children. Adults do it too, and yes, both tots and grown-ups will sometimes even go through the same foul-snot-to-finally-dislodged-object process as little Khloe did.

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In fact, just forgetting a little scrap of tissue in the nose can often cause an infection that presents with gross, thick, stinky snot and will often be treated with antibiotics if doctors miss the foreign object that’s causing all the fuss, as they did in Khloe’s case.

So what do you do if you think your kid jammed something up there? Powell didn’t know for sure that Khloe had anything up her nose because, well, the little girl never told her. Her persistent symptoms stumped her mom, and if you too see your child with a gunky nose that has a funky-smelling discharge — especially when it’s limited to one nostril — you want to raise the issue with your doctor, who can X-ray for things that a scope might easily miss.

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If you know for certain your child has gone excavating for gold with anything that isn’t a finger, there are a number of steps you can take both at home and with a medical professional to get that bad boy out of there.

First, while a button battery is unlikely to fit into a miniature nostril, if your child manages to get one in their nose, pop one in their mouth or push one into an ear, get to an emergency room right away. When the acid from those batteries hits spit or the mucosal membrane, it can have devastating effects in a matter of moments.

Another time you’ll need to head straight for the ER is if the object is lodged so far up that you can’t see it or if it has become dislodged and is making its way into the throat. Because all of those cavities are connected, that situation poses an aspiration or blockage hazard that needs to be addressed immediately by a doctor.

If you’re dealing with something much more benign, like a pea or a bead that has made itself cozy not far from view, first try giving your child “the Mother’s Kiss.” Simply block the unblocked nostril, put your mouth over your child’s, and give a forceful puff of air. The object should easily fly out.

You can also use a pair of tweezers to try to grab the object and wriggle it toward you. It’s important to never use a finger or something like a cotton swab to fish around in a nostril, because it could force the object farther up the nasal cavity, and then you’ll be headed to the ER anyway.

In the meantime, just to be safe, maybe limit all castle-building materials to something like blocks or cardboard tubes. Those are a lot harder to jam up a honker.

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Image: Indeed/Getty Images

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