HAYDEN, Idaho -- It was a close call for a northern Idaho teenager, who accidentally swallowed something dangerous.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned everyone about the brushes often used to clean grills after cooking last year, but the Hayden girl still couldn’t avoid the close call.
Dr. Thomas Detar has been practicing medicine for 20 years, but the surgeon at St. Joseph’s ear, nose and throat clinic says this case was a new one.
“I’ve seen a lot of fish bones stuck in the throat. This is the first time I’ve seen a piece of metal from the brush,” he said.
At first the 18 year old thought it was a fish bone, since she just ate salmon for dinner. Once Detar yanked out the mysterious needle, he realized what was really behind the stabbing pain in the woman’s throat.
“I was looking at it, and I was like, ‘This does not look like a bone.’ Her father looked at it and said that’s a bristle off the brush.”
While Detar hasn’t seen this locally, the CDC reports this happened five times just last year. At least a dozen patients experienced the same problem in the last five years.
The bristles may not cause death, but doctors say it’s important to get them out fast.
“If it had stayed there, it probably would’ve caused an infection of the tongue. If it had gotten dislodged, it could have gotten stuck in the esophagus or intestines, and that would very possibly create an infection in those areas,” Dr. Detar said.
The CDC advises wiping down a grill with a wet rag after using a brush to help catch any stray bristles.