Henrico Doctors' Hospital - January 15, 2020

Accidentally swallowing something is very common...

...but would you know what to do if it happened to you or one of your loved ones?

It’s not just babies and young children that are susceptible to swallowing small objects. Even adults are known to swallow small objects accidentally.

The following are a list of commonly swallowed small objects:

  • Button Batteries
  • Magnet
  • Safety Pins
  • Coins
  • Earrings
  • Any objects that are pointed, including, toothpicks, wire, or small bones in food

Is it an emergency?

Here are some symptoms to look out for to determine if emergency treatment is needed:

  • Trouble breathing, crying, or talking
  • Whispery, unproductive coughing
  • Wheezing or noisy breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Drooling or bringing up saliva
  • Loss of consciousness

If you, or your child, swallow any foreign object, call your doctor right away for advice. They may have you take a wait-and-see approach for non-toxic things like a bite of crayon or a plastic bead. You’ll need to watch for these items to pass in the stool. If an object doesn't pass within 48 hours or new symptoms crop up, including vomiting or abdominal pain, you may need additional treatment. Never force food or drink or try to induce vomiting to bring up an object.

Seconds can count if the items swallowed are dangerous. Our nurses are available to answer your questions. Or locate the ER closest to you.