Helping an individual with food stuck in the throat
From time to time, some people end up with an obstruction in the throat and the causes vary. In most cases, the causes of a clogged throat include fish or chicken wedged on the throat and anything that can cause difficulty in breathing and swallowing food. Remember that any obstruction in the throat should be dislodged immediately in order to avoid further harm to the person.
A person who ends up with a blocked throat that could not be remedied by first aid measures should seek medical help immediately. If assistance is delayed, the person will experience the following:
- Choking and deprivation of air
- If the food that is stuck in the throat is not removed, the wound will become infected and cause further damage in the esophagus.
- Prolonged deprivation of air caused by throat obstruction can result to death.
How to remove food stuck in the throat
If the individual is conscious but cannot talk and breathe:
- Deliver 5 blows on the back between the shoulder blades using the heel of your hand.
If the individual is still choking, perform abdominal thrusts:
- Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around his/her waist.
- Position your clenched fist above the navel of the affected person and grab the fist with your other hand and quickly pull inward and upward.
- Perform 5 back blows and 5 abdominal thrusts until the food or object is coughed up or the person starts to breathe or coughs.
- Take the food or objects out of his/her mouth only if it can be seen. Do not perform a finger sweep if the food or object cannot be seen clearly while inspecting the mouth.
Important considerations to bear in mind
- Do not panic since it can worsen the situation. It is important to stay calm while helping out the individual.
- Ask the person to open his/her mouth and if the obstruction can be seen, try to reach it. If the object or food cannot be reached, look for ways to resolve the problem.
- Allow the person to swallow the yolk of an uncooked egg including the red in order to help the food or object slide down the mouth.
- Gargle vinegar since this can help in softening the bone that is stuck in the throat. The next step is to swallow cooked rice or hard bread to help loosen the obstruction.
- Swallowing a tablespoon of olive oil can help the obstruction slide down to the stomach.
The ideal way to prevent food or objects being stuck in the throat, it is vital to observe proper eating habits such as chewing the food well and avoid eating in a hurry since some bones or food particles might still be large enough to clog up the throat.
Remember that children are more prone to choking especially toddlers. This is due to the fact that they are very curious of their surroundings and willingly put anything inside their mouths.