Can you swallow something down your windpipe?

Asked By: Malco Grotenhoff | Last Updated: 9th March, 2020
Category: medical health lung and respiratory health
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When you swallow food, liquid, or an object, what is swallowed passes from your mouth through your throat and esophagus into your stomach. Sometimes when you try to swallow, the swallowed substance "goes down the wrong way" and gets inhaled into your windpipe or lungs (aspirated).

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Keeping this in view, what happens if food goes down your windpipe?

When somebody feels like something went down the wrong pipe, it usually means that it went into his or her trachea, a process known as aspiration. "In otherwise healthy people, the presence of foreign material in the airway is extremely uncomfortable and will stimulate immediate gag and coughing reflexes," says Kim.

Secondly, what happens if a piece of food gets in your lungs? Pulmonary aspiration is when you inhale food, stomach acid, or saliva into your lungs. You can also aspirate food that travels back up from your stomach to your esophagus. Healthy lungs can clear up on their own. If they don't, pneumonia can develop as a complication.

One may also ask, how do you get something out of your windpipe?

Ways to remove food stuck in throat

  1. The 'Coca-Cola' trick. Research suggests that drinking a can of Coke, or another carbonated beverage, can help dislodge food stuck in the esophagus.
  2. Simethicone.
  3. Water.
  4. A moist piece of food.
  5. Alka-Seltzer or baking soda.
  6. Butter.
  7. Wait it out.

Why do I keep swallowing down the wrong pipe?

As part of the swallowing response, the upper esophageal sphincter relaxes and opens to allow the food to pass from the throat into the esophagus. Aspiration occurs whenever secretions, food or liquid goes down "the wrong pipe” and enters the airway or lungs. This often results in coughing or choking sensation.

39 Related Question Answers Found

Can you die from swallowing water down the wrong pipe?

Drowning doesn't mean dying, he added. In the mildest cases, drowning is when water "goes down the wrong pipe," but this phrase is also inaccurate, Mell noted. The muscles around the epiglottis then spasm to protect you from inhaling water. A person may cough and clear out the water, and then have no further problems.

Can you die from aspiration?

Mortality estimates for aspiration pneumonia vary. At least 5 percent of people who are hospitalized for aspiration will die. Among those with other complications, such as emphysema, the mortality rate rises to 20 percent or higher.

Will food stuck in throat dissolve?

Dysphagia from food obstruction
No matter how much you swallow or water you drink – the sensation that a piece of steak is stuck in your throat just won't go away. Food obstruction can be very dangerous depending on what is stuck and where it's stuck, says Dr. Lee.

Can you accidentally swallow a pill into your lungs?

A swallowed object will usually pass through the rest of your digestive tract without problems and show up in your stool in a few days. Sometimes when you try to swallow, the swallowed substance "goes down the wrong way" and gets inhaled into your windpipe or lungs (aspirated).

How do I know if food went into my lungs?


What are the symptoms of aspiration from dysphagia?
  1. Feeling that food is sticking in your throat or coming back into your mouth.
  2. Pain when swallowing.
  3. Trouble starting a swallow.
  4. Coughing or wheezing after eating.
  5. Coughing while drinking liquids or eating solids.
  6. Chest discomfort or heartburn.

Why does my throat feel like it has something stuck in it?

Often, globus pharyngeus is due to minor inflammation in the throat or at the back of the mouth. The throat muscles and mucous membranes can feel strained when the throat is dry, causing feelings that something is stuck in the throat. One of the most common causes of a dry throat is frequent swallowing due to anxiety.

What happens if you inhale food in your lungs?

Aspiration pneumonia is a lung infection that develops after you aspirate (inhale) food, liquid, or vomit into your lungs. If you are not able to cough up the aspirated material, bacteria can grow in your lungs and cause an infection.

How long can something be stuck in your throat?

If an object is stuck in your esophagus, your doctor will need to remove it. Most swallowed objects pass through the digestive tract without any problem and show up in the stool within 7 days.

What happens if a pill goes down your windpipe?

If the person is coughing
Encourage them to continue coughing to get the pill out. Pills shouldn't be left in the throat to dissolve. A pill can burn the lining of the throat, causing esophagitis, a condition where the esophagus becomes inflamed.

What are the signs of silent aspiration?


Silent aspiration usually has no symptoms, and people aren't aware that fluids or stomach contents have entered their lungs. Overt aspiration will usually cause sudden, noticeable symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or a hoarse voice. Silent aspiration tends to occur in people with impaired senses.

How do you get something out of your lungs?

There are three things you can do to clear your lungs:
  1. Controlled coughing. This type of coughing comes from deep in your lungs.
  2. Postural drainage. You lie down in different positions to help drain mucus from your lungs.
  3. Chest percussion. You lightly tap your chest and back.

Can you swallow liquid into your lungs?

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when food, saliva, liquids, or vomit is breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs, instead of being swallowed into the esophagus and stomach.

Can a pill get stuck in your windpipe?

Summary. Getting a pill caught in the throat can be irritating and alarming. Most of the time, the pill is not stuck in the airways, but in the esophagus on the way down to the stomach. It may be possible to cough the pill up or help it continue down by drinking more liquids or eating a piece of food.

What happens if a foreign object gets in your lungs?

Foreign body aspiration, also known as pulmonary aspiration, occurs when an object is accidentally inhaled into a person's airways. This usually results in an obstruction of a specific area of the respiratory tract, such as: The larynx.

How long does globus sensation last?


It is a very unusual sensory experience. After gargling for 1-2 minutes — that's quite a lot, try it sometime — I can get nearly complete relief from the globus sensation for at least a half hour, often much more (hours).

What causes the feeling of food stuck in your chest?

Esophageal dysphagia refers to the sensation of food sticking or getting hung up in the base of your throat or in your chest after you've started to swallow. Some of the causes of esophageal dysphagia include: Achalasia.

What happens if you breathe in a bug?

If you feel like you inhaled the bug and you think it could be in your lungs, tell a parent or another adult. Usually this will make you cough and feel a little uncomfortable. Unlike your stomach, your lungs won't digest the bug. In your lungs, the bug will get trapped in a layer of slimy mucus.