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Healthy Living

Foreign Bodies

Foreign Body under the Skin

Skin may be pierced by thorns, glass, iron pieces, needles etc.


Unless very easy to deal with, don't interfere. Dress the wound, immobilise the part with splints and get medical aid.

Foreign Body in the Eye

Wings of insects, dust, coal, metal particles from lathes, wood particles and loose eyelashes are common objects that get lodged in the eye. They cause pain and later redness if they are not removed soon. Sometimes splinters that get lodged in the cornea may cause severe trouble and penetrating foreign bodies are a danger to the eye itself.


  • Avoid rubbing the eye. In the case of a child, tie his hands together at the back.
  • Seat the patient so that light falls on the eye. Pull the lower lid down. If the foreign body is floating and not embedded remove it with a narrow moist swab. The corner of a handkerchief twisted to a fine point will also do.
  • If the foreign body is not visible, it may be under the upper eyelid. Ask the patient to keep clean water in the hand and blink briskly into the water. If unsuccessful, pull the upper lid forwards, push the lower lid upwards and let go of both the lids. The lashes of the lower lid usually dislodge the foreign body. Try this two or three times.
  • If the foreign body is embedded in the eye, particularly in the cornea (the black of the eye), don't touch it. Apply a soft pad, ask the patient not to rub his eye and take him quickly to the hospital.
  • Penetrating foreign bodies are easily made out by bleeding, pain etc. These are for doctors to handle. Just put a pad on the eye and rush to the hospital.
  • When injury with corrosive acid, alkali or juices from plants are suspected, blinking eyelids under water a number of times or flushing with a large quantity of water is the best thing to do. Then apply a soft pad and take the patient to the hospital at once.

Foreign Body in the Ear

  • If the foreign body is an insect, fill the ear with glycerine or coconut or mustard oil or warm salt water. The insect will float up and can be removed easily.
  • If there is nothing floating up, leave it alone, don't meddle at all but get the patient to a doctor as soon as possible.

Foreign Body in the Nose

  • Make the patient breathe through the mouth.
  • Do not try to remove the foreign body.
  • If the patient is a child, tie his hands behind his back.
  • Get the patient to a doctor.

Foreign Body in the throat

  • Some large, irregular objects may get stuck in the throat. If visible, they may be taken out using the fingers. In a child, hold the child's head downward and tap on the back of the neck and the foreign body may fall out.
  • In the case of fish bones or thorn these may get lodged by piercing some part of the throat. In these cases, keep the patient calm and get him to the hospital.

Foreign Body in the Stomach

  • Smooth objects like coins, buttons and safety pins may be swallowed. The stomach and the intestines most often adjust themselves in such a way as to expel them. There is most often no need to panic.
  • Get the patient to see a doctor. Laxatives like bananas need not be given routinely.


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