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Clin Otolaryngol. 2015 Oct;40(5):420-1. doi: 10.1111/coa.12385.

Nasal Foreign Bodies: A Sweet Experiment.

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University Hospital Wales, Cardiff, UK.



It is generally accepted that paediatric intranasal foreign bodies should be removed in the emergency setting. In the case of a difficult to access dissolvable foreign body in an uncooperative child, the question must be raised regarding whether or not a watch and wait strategy is more appropriate. We ask: How long does it take for popular sweets (candy) to dissolve in the human nose?


Five popular UK sweets were placed in the right nasal cavity of a 29-year-old male (the author) with no sino-nasal disease. Time taken to dissolve was recorded.


All five sweets were completely dissolved in under one hour.


A watch and wait strategy in favour of examination under anaesthetic may be a viable option in some cases. Limitations of the study include the age of the participant and size of the sweets. It is also important in practice that the clinician is able to elicit an accurate history regarding the exact nature of the foreign body.


It remains prudent to perform an examination under anaesthetic of an uncooperative child with a solid or unknown nasal foreign body. However, if the clinician can be certain the foreign body is a small sugar or chocolate based sweet only, a watch and wait strategy may be a reasonable choice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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