An Australian woman with asthma received the scare of a lifetime recently when she accidentally inhaled an earring while using her inhaler.
The 41-year-old woman was getting ready for a New Year’s Eve party when she started to wheeze, BMJ Journal reports. She reached into her purse and grabbed her inhaler. The woman noticed a “course rattle” as she shook her inhaler, but she figured it was just a loose mechanism in the device.
As soon as she took a hit of the inhaler, she knew something was wrong. An excruciatingly painful scratching sensation ran down her throat, and she began violently coughing up blood. She was rushed to the hospital, and doctors ordered an X-ray right away.
Here's what they found:
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A hard, pointed mass with “features consistent with a stud earring” was seen inside her right lung. Doctors immediately put her on antibiotics and moved in to inspect and remove the mass. Sure enough, after taking a closer look, the doctors confirmed their suspicions: The woman had inhaled an earring.
Thankfully, doctors were able to safely remove the earring and the woman has since made a full recovery. The lesson to learn, according to BMJ Case Report author Dr. Lucinda Katharine McCowan Blake, is this: Put your inhaler caps back on the device after every use.
“The importance of replacing caps on inhalers when not in use is illustrated and should be encouraged when inhaler technique is taught or reviewed,” Blake writes.
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Photo Credit: BMJ Journal