All parents know that Lego pieces get into just about every nook and cranny of your home. And of course, it’s not unusual for a Lego to end up in the mouths, ears, and noses of our budding builders.
But one little boy's body concealed a Lego piece—a toy hand, to be specific—for a lot longer than most. Samir Anwar, from Dunedin, New Zealand, put the Lego up his nostril in 2018—and it stayed there until mid-August.
BBC reported that Samir’s dad, Mudassir, knew that his son had put a Lego in his nose two years ago, and at the time he shined a light up Samir's nostril to look for it—yet he couldn’t see the Lego. Mudassir spoke to the family doctor about what to do, and the doctor said the Lego would find its own way out through the body. This advice left Mudassir feeling “pretty confident that he didn’t have anything in his nose.”
While Samir wasn’t quite so sure—and in the following days, complained that there was something in his nose—the family assumed, over time, that it had passed through his system.
So they all got a huge surprise when the Lego hand made its unexpected reappearance.
During a family outing, Samir was eating a muffin that agitated his nose. "He started getting anxious again and we said to him, just go and blow your nose. So he did,” Mudassir told BBC. That was the moment the tiny black Lego hand, still completely intact, landed in the tissue.
"We were shocked, his eyes were wide open and he was like, 'I found the Lego, I kept telling you that it was there, but you were saying that it was not,'” Mudassir said.
Samir, who told BBC he was “surprised and a bit scared” to see the missing piece, was then examined by a doctor and given—once again—the all-clear.
So where did the Lego go all this time?
It’s an incredible story, because a toy hiding in up a nostril for two years and then reappearing is simply not something doctors expect to happen.
“It’s very rare that a child would not feel a foreign body in their nose,” Christopher Thompson, MD, an otolaryngologist and ear, nose and throat specialist at Mission Hospital in Orange County, California, tells Health. “Typically an object would create irritation, mucus, and congestion that would lead to an infection. A foul odor would also be expected from the bacteria that would likely grow on the foreign body,” explains Dr. Thompson.
Inhaling any type of foreign body can cause an infection, and although it’s unlikely to be fatal, Dr. Thompson says a more serious infection is possible if the object travels to the trachea or lungs.
Dr. Thompson thinks Samir’s Lego was probably underneath a turbinate, which is a structure on the lateral side of the nasal cavity that helps to warm and humidify the air we breathe.
How to get an object out of your child’s nose
Lots of kids get small objects stuck up their noses; there’s something about stuffing things up there that’s kind of appealing to little people. But if it happens, parents should take care when trying to retrieve it.
“You can look in the front portion of the nose with a flashlight, but if you can’t see the foreign body, it’s not recommended that you search for it,” says Dr. Thompson. “That type of searching could push the object farther into the nasal cavity, significantly worsening the situation and creating greater discomfort.”
If you can’t see the object inside your child’s nose and easily fish it out, Dr. Thompson suggests encouraging your kid to blow their nose, which will hopefully expel it. But if that doesn’t work, it’s important that they’re seen promptly by an otolaryngologist, who can use a small lighted endoscopy to look in the middle and posterior (back) nasal cavity and safely retrieve it.
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