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DOCTOR AT THE DESK

Ear Plugs

"First aid for kids inserting small items in their ears"
By: Lourdes Nena A. Cabison-Carlos, MDEar Plugs

An inquisitive child can try almost everything, from jumping on the bed to inserting objects to every known body orifice including the ears. Even adults are sometimes caught using the tip of the pencils to scratch their ears, or use the ears as a place to insert wayward coins. And though not frequent in occurrence, there are those unfortunate few who wake up to find live wriggling creatures like cockroaches inside their ear canal.

Most of the time, mommy can manage and remove those objects. But if a child inserts an object (or has an insect) deep inside the ear canal that’s large, wedged into place or difficult to remove, the patient should immediately be referred to an ENT doctor for its removal. Otherwise, trauma to the ear canal (from parental manipulation or movement or biting of the insect) and subsequent pain and swelling might require the need for removal under anesthesia.

If, however, the child inserts a disk-type battery (the one they use for watches, etc), go to the ER right away. The electric current resulting from the contact of the battery and the moist skin can cause severe burn within four hours.

How to prevent such occurrences? Give the child only age-appropriate toys and avoid putting very small items within his reach. Kids not only put these things in their ears; more often, they bite every item they pick up, and when the item is small, swallowing them is not far from the picture.  

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