|
4
Ears, Nose and Throat
Signs of Mental Disorders

When an adult who isn't developmentally delayed is swallowing foreign objects, it can signal mental illness. There are many recorded instances of schizophrenics swallowing hazardous materials like glass and metal. And in 2002, a mentally ill French man showed up at an emergency room with stomach pain from swallowing 350 coins, as well as other items [source: CBS News]. He died a few days later.

A wide variety of objects can get stuck in an ear or throat, or up a nose. But there's something they tend to have in common: They're usually put there by a child. Children are notorious for seeing what they can get in one of these three orifices. Often, this experimentation involves toys. For instance, balloons are extremely common causes of choking in children [source: Home Safety Council]. But kids are curious creatures, and that means anything and everything is a possible candidate for bodily insertion. The list of items children have shoved in their ears, noses or mouths is a long one, and includes buttons, batteries, marbles, jewelry, coins, safety pins, hair pins, toothpicks, beads, crayons, ball bearings, stones, staples, computer parts and more.

In addition, food can get stuck in a child's airway. Around 19 percent of kids under age 15 who are taken to an ER with a choking emergency have candy caught in their throats [source: Home Safety Council]. Items like bones, popcorn kernels and raisins are also common culprits. Adults aren't exempt, but about 90 percent of deaths caused by foreign objects occur in children under 5 years of age [source: B.E. CPR].

Often, things children swallow will eventually pass through their systems. And an adult with a clean, steady hand or a pair of tweezers can usually remove items from ears and nasal passages. However, if something is lodged in a person's throat and making breathing difficult, an emergency room visit -- or ambulance -- is recommended. In addition, objects that are toxic (such as batteries) or sharp need to be removed by a doctor so that they don't poison or do damage to the digestive system. Anyone with objects too far in their ear or up their nose to reach should also go to an ER. Items not removed immediately can cause infections.

Keep reading to learn about items removed from the human body's largest organ.

|