What is a Foreign Body?

A foreign body is any material that is not organic and is often a result of trauma or injury. A foreign body can enter the skin or soft tissue through a laceration or wound. If it’s not removed, a foreign body can delay healing and cause an infection. Springfield Urgent Care is prepared for a foreign body removal after an injury or accidental ingestion. Common foreign bodies caused by penetration of the skin include:

  • Wood (splinters)
  • Thorns
  • Nails
  • Spines of plants
  • Fishhooks
  • Broken glass
  • Graphite

A foreign body can be present in many areas of the body including pathways such as the ear, nose, and throat. Accidental ingestion or placement of foreign bodies are common in young children and often include:

  • Food
  • Toys
  • Buttons
  • Crayons
  • Batteries
  • Pebbles

Symptoms of foreign bodies

Symptoms of foreign bodies that have penetrated the skin include pain, swelling, and discomfort at the site. For placement of foreign bodies in the nose, nasal drainage or a nosebleed might be present. Foreign bodies in the ear can cause a feeling of fullness, pain, redness, and drainage. A foreign body that has been ingested into the airway might result in choking and can be fatal. If you suspect your child has ingested a foreign body into the airway, seek emergency medical help.

Treatment with Foreign Body Removal

Some foreign bodies such as mild splinters can be removed at home with sterile tweezers. However, if you experience foreign bodies that are deep in the skin or cannot be safely removed on your own, you should seek medical help for removal. A physician uses optimal lighting, magnification, and in some cases, imaging to accurately locate the foreign body. The wound is then cleaned, and the appropriate removal technique is used.

If you or your child has symptoms of a foreign body due to injury or ingestion, visit Springfield Urgent Care for removal and treatment.

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