Friday, May 02, 2014

How to remove magnets stuck in the nose

Don't panic!  You can probably remove them very easily, with items you already have at home.

My son stuck 2 small neodymium magnets (the very powerful kind) in his nose a few years ago, one in each nostril (they stuck together across the septum).  We went to the emergency room, and spent hours waiting. The last unsuccessful attempt to remove the magnets involved having four nurses holding him down, while a doctor tried unsuccessfully to pry them out while my son was crying and struggling, blood dripping from his nose.

So, don't do that!  I found this simple trick just before they were going to put him under general anesthesia to remove the magnets surgically. Try it!

Here's what you do:

- Find a solid, iron or steel implement.  The handle of a heavy serving spoon that's not too large, the handle of a metal tool, anything like that.  The doctor ended up using the metal handle of some forceps. Even some common cutlery (forks and spoons) may attract magnets. You may want to test the implement with another magnet, to make sure it a magnet will adhere to it.

- Put the metal implement next to the nostril, on the inside.  Or if you can't find anything small that could fit inside the nostril, maybe you could even put something on the outside, on both sides?

- The magnet should adhere immediately to the metal implement, and be easily removed.  Success!

This is the article that I originally found that explained what to do, just before my son was about to undergo general anesthesia: An attractive approach to magnets adherent across the nasal septum. Unfortunately, it didn't show up very prominently when I originally searched in Google for "magnet stuck in nose", before heading to the emergency room. I had to add the word septum before finding it. If you're already in the doctors office, have them look at that article.

If you're interested in my original blog post that describes the whole episode in detail, here it is: Another Sunday Evening in the Emergency Room.


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