A piece of glass in your foot. An insect in your ear. There are countless foreign objects that can enter the body, but one thing is for sure – they’re not supposed to be there, and they need to be removed. Some foreign bodies that are stuck in the skin can be taken out relatively easily, while others lodged in the eyes and ears can become much more difficult. Factors including what the object is and where it’s located determine what the best method is for foreign body removal.
If you have a small object or piece of debris stuck in your skin, you’ll want to take the following steps before attempting to remove it:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- If you’re using tweezers, sterilize them with rubbing alcohol.
- Remove the foreign body and then sterilize the area using rubbing alcohol.
- Allow the area to dry before applying antibiotic ointment and covering the wound with a bandage or gauze pad.
If you’re trying to remove a foreign object from your eye, you can try flushing it out by blinking or using saline solution, however you should not attempt to remove the object yourself if it has rough or sharp edges, hit your eye at a high rate of speed, is embedded in the eye, or contains chemicals. Trying to remove an object with any of these characteristics can cause an infection, and in the worst case scenario, vision loss.
If you’re trying to remove a foreign object from your ear, you can try turning your head to see if it will fall out, but never stick anything in your ear to try to remove it, as that can cause damage to your eardrum.
As a general rule of thumb, if the object is deeply lodged into your skin, ears, eyes, or nose, and can’t be easily seen or grasped, do not try to remove it yourself. Also, if the area becomes red, tender, swollen, or is oozing, you’ll want to visit a doctor for additional treatment.
A convenient place to go for foreign body removal is an urgent care clinic. Using Solv, you’ll be able to find out which urgent care centers are located closest to you, and then make an appointment for the foreign body to be removed that same day – no wait, and no fuss!