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2.18.2010

Tricks of the Trade: In One Ear...And Out the Same

I love to learn, but my knowledge, especially as a mother, is too often gained the "hard way". I have three children, the oldest is five years old, and I had yet to deal with the whole foreign object inserted in body part issue...UNTIL...this week.

This week, my five-year old son inserted a popcorn kernel in his ear canal and I had NO idea what to do. I'll spare you the nitty gritty details (if you're dying to hear them, click HERE), but I'll dish the advice I have gained after going through this little experience. Maybe I can save you the pain of paying for a visit to the doctor's office, Urgent Care, or Emergency Room to remove the dirty, rotten, no-good foreign object.

*The very FIRST thing you should do is remain calm. Your child can panic if he/she sees you getting flustered. Obviously, remain calm so as not to scare your child, but also remember: A panicky child is a squirmy and uncooperative child. If they grow hysterical, it will make removal of foreign objects that much more impossible.

*The very other FIRST thing (I know. I gave you two "FIRSTS", but moms are good at multi-tasking. You can do it!) you should do when you recognize that your child has put something in his ear (or nose) is....STOP AND THINK! Assess the situation before you touch anything. You can make it worse even when you are trying to make it better. Trust me. I learned this one the hard way.

After you've done these two things, you still have the task of removal ahead of you. Hopefully, it will be easier with my first two tips, but you still need to get that thing outta there.

I am now an expert on popcorn-kernel-in-ear, but I imagine you could use these tips for other objects as well.

*With child's head tipped with the affected ear towards ground, grasp the upper portion of the ear and gently pull up and out. This can change the shape of the ear canal. Try wiggling the ear a few times to see if the object will fall out on its own.

*Apply some superglue to the tip of a toothpick. Carefully insert toothpick and gently touch glue to object. Allow time to dry and slowly pull object out.

*If these two things haven't worked, construct this tool (Sorry about the crude drawing! Doesn't the pretty border make up for my lack of artistic skills though? Haha!) :



This is what our doctor used to remove the kernel from my son's ear in two seconds. It looked like a dental tool, but I bet it wouldn't be too difficult to rig. You could use a pencil and some crafting wire (a paperclip would probably be too thick of wire) or some fishing line.

Other methods that were unsuccessful for us, but might work for you:
*Use a bulb syringe or straw to gently suck it out

If all else fails, PRAY! and make your way to the doctor's office. Surprisingly, removal may not be as emergent as you think. In our situation, the doctor's office was fifteen minutes from closing time and I didn't have a car to get us there. Of course this isn't "official" medical advice, but our pediatrician's office told us that as long as it wasn't bothering him, we could wait until the morning to have him seen. If he was uncomfortable, he needed to be seen at Urgent Care as soon as possible.

Have you had experience with this little predicament before? What did YOU do??

Have any other tips for getting stuff out of ears OR noses? We'd love to hear it!

10 comments:

Cassi said...

Well I don't have any tricks for how to get things out of ears or nose but my daughter did stick a bead up her nose one time. She told me what she had done and when I looked, sure enough I could barely see it WAY up there. I freaked out (but not in front of her) and called my mom to ask what to do. Then as I was planning our trip to Urgent Care, my daughter yelled "nevermind it's out"...????? I went and looked and there on the floor was a slimy snot covered bead. I asked her how she got it out and she said "I just blew out my nose". Well ok then! That was easy!

Sarah said...

Yikes! Just a tip for all you moms who have never dealt with this - if your child starts having really bad breath, their nose runs out one nostril but not the other, or they have a nasty smelling nose, it could be a sign that they've stuck something up their nose, so you should have it checked! My cousin's daughter started smelling horrible. They brushed her teeth like crazy for a week and couldn't figure out what was wrong. Finally they learned she had a popcorn kernel up her nose that had gotten all moldy/etc. VERY nasty. just so you know. :)

Andrea said...

oh the joy of sticking things up their noses or in their ears! My daughter was at grandma's and my mom called me and told me that she had stuck something up her nose and she had lots of snot and kept sneezing..... I kinda freaked a bit and didnt know what to do.... I asked her if it was affecting her breathing and she said no... so I told her to keep an eye on her and let me know if anything changed.... I was at work... then she called me back and said that she thought about trying to get it out but didnt want to hurt her or shove it up there more... I told her that I would just come and get her and take her to community care.... we still dont know what is up there mind u:) But we will soon find out! so the doctor takes a look and says ..... well it looks like a bullet!!! What the ?HECK! I was freaking now... where in the world... anyway it ended up being just a bullet shell that she had found in a crack at grandmas and the tweezers that the doctor used were like $200.00 and I should have asked to take them home since I paid that much for them! So... popcorn, beads, crayons, rocks.... u name it, but now bullets can be added to the list of things kiddos stick into open spaces of their body!!!

Anonymous said...

My Grandson has a popcorn kernal in his ear. We have tried various things, like perozxide etc when we still thought it was wax. I do not suggest you ever go close to your child's ear with superglue, sounds like a horrible idea. I could imagine him sneezing and the inside of his ear burning and being worse off than just a popcorn kernal. When my 19 year old son was small he began smelling bad. I would bathe him like 3 times a day and he just smelled grosser and grosser, like his entire body. I took him to the Dr. and so began the long tweezers up his nose where he had lodged(I found out when I got home), stuffing from a hole in the underside of his crib he had been digging in and to my dismay sticking up his nose(He fit a whole lot of it up there). The smell was it getting infected. I am out of ideas in getting this kernal out and am going to the Dr.

Anonymous said...

This just happened to me tonight. A friend sent me your link and it was a life (and wallet) saver!! I tried tweezers, but just shoved it in further. I think this is the first time in the almost 10 years that I've been a mother that I was thankful for being crafty! I have all sorts of sticks and various thicknesses of wire all over the place! I never would have thought to try that on my own, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this!!

Anonymous said...

My son inserted a popcorn kernel into each ear a few months back "just to see if it would fit". I took him to the ER and after a $1200 bill, would love to share what the doctor did. Like the original writer, he took a long stick and put super glue on the end and touched it gently to the kernal, let it dry a bit, and pulled it out. I certainly could have done that at home for a few cents!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. My husband has gone to get super glue now. I think the cost of the super glue sounds better than $1200 for the doctor's super glue on a toothpick.

Anonymous said...

Just returned home from a kernel removal $1500 best money ever spent. I woundnt be able to live with myself had i caused damage to my daughters ear trying to play dr.

Anonymous said...

thanks for tips.. following superglue trick worked really well

Danielle B. said...

The straw fix worked to get a bead out of my sons ear. Thank you for posting!!