Pulmonologist Questions Inhalation Injuries

My son inhaled a fly. Will it get trapped in the cilia of the bronchial tree and end up causing illness?

My son is 7 years old and he ended up inhaling a fly. I am worried whether it will get caught in the cilia of his bronchial tree and cause any breathing problem or infection. Should I show it to a doctor or what should I do? Please help.

1 Answer

In most cases, the fly will perish and he will be fine. Remnants of the fly (or other bugs) might be swept up and out of the lung and trachea, and then swallowed. Sometimes, the creature will lodge in the smaller passages of the lungs and become entombed there. This may happen without any further health repercussions, but not always. If the fly was contaminated with certain pathogenic agents, you could potentially suffer from infection. Would the fly lay eggs and perpetuate within you? Not likely, but this is a possibility. There are just a few kinds of flies, the larvae of which will infest living tissue. Some of these flies are quite large. The chances of inhaling one of these are tiny, but not zero. This cannot be seen on an X ray so that would not be helpful. I think the only time to seek medical help in a case such as this would be if there was a persistent cough or fever and chills.