A 16-year-old boy noticed that every time he blew his nose, a "pungent, foul odor filled the room." He'd been dealing with nasal problems, including congestion and trouble smelling things, for years. But doctors had chalked it up to some kind of sinus inflammation, perhaps due to allergies, and had sent him home with "nasal spray and antihistamine medication," according to LiveScience.
But when when the symptoms continued and then the mysterious and embarrassing odor became a symptom, he received a CT scan, which revealed a small sphere lodged in his nasal cavity. It turned out to be a metal BB pellet that had struck him in the nose when he was 8 or 9 years old.
Foreign objects lodged in the nose can sometimes cause a foul odor because "the foreign body causes blockage of natural drainage pathways in the nose, so there is a buildup of mucus, inhaled debris and bacteria," study co-author Dylan Z. Erwin, a medical student at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, told Live Science. But this buildup doesn't always trigger a fever or other signs of a whole-body infection, and so the diagnosis can be missed, Erwin said.
In addition, the pellet in the boy's case was even harder to spot because over time, it had become covered with new tissue. "Healthy-appearing tissue had completely grown over it," Erwin said. For doctors to even see the pellet, this surrounding tissue had to be surgically removed, he said. …
Pellet gun injuries are common in adolescents, but the current case was unique because the injury happened so long ago, and the boy did not have symptoms of nasal trauma, the report said.
The boy successfully underwent surgery to remove the pellet, and "the unpleasant odor disappeared."
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