Frequently physicians and medical personnel in emergency rooms come across patients with history of foreign objects lodged in their throat. Children as well as adults both can experience obstruction in their throat due to swallowing a foreign object. Especially children are more susceptible to this problem as out of curiosity they may put something in their mouth and swallow.
Children often intentionally tend to put shiny and colorful objects such as coins, button batteries, marbles, safety pins etc into their mouth, which may sometimes get stuck in their throat. Adults often swallow non food objects accidentally or sometimes small fish and chicken bones are gulped while eating and they land up in the throat or the food pipe.These foreign bodies can get stuck in the hollow of the throat or the tissue.
Foreign bodies in throat can be irritating or inert. They may cause variety of problems such as inflammation, breathing difficulty, problem in swallowing and sometimes infection in the throat. Foreign objects can cause mechanical obstruction in the throat either due to their size or due to scarring. Most foreign bodies in throat are lodged in the pharynx or the upper part of esophagus.
Home Remedies To Remove Foreign Object From Throat
A foreign object stuck in throat should not be neglected at any time as this can lead to life threatening situation sometimes.Patients should seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible to remove the object. However, few maneuvers can be tried at home if the situation is not so serious. Below are few steps that may be of preliminary help.
- The first important step is to reassure the patient and allow him to calm down.
- It is necessary to know the kind of object that has been stuck in the throat. Ask the patient if he has put anything in his mouth.
- The best way is ask the patient to eat a banana. Often a bolus of chewed banana helps the stuck object to pass down into the stomach and from there it is expelled out of the body.
- Another piece of advice is to eat few potato chips. Tell the patient to chew them and swallow the bolus of chewed chips. It helps to push down a small object and clear obstruction in throat.
- Most common foreign objects in throat are pieces of plastic, nuts, fish and chicken bones, button batteries, marbles, etc. In such cases, a small bolus of cooked rice often helps smooth passage of stuck object into the stomach.
- Gargling of vinegar mixed in water helps stuck chicken and fish bone to become soft. After which a person can swallow a piece of bread to relieve throat pain.
- If the object is stuck in the throat, pat six times on the back followed by six abdominal thrusts. In case of children, compress the chest instead of abdominal thrusts. Here is a simple technique to do abdominal thrust. Stand behind the patient and wrap him with your arms around the navel. Now with the grasp of both the fist, press the abdomen upwards while telling the patient to bend a little. Do it six times and alter it with patting at the back. Repeat the procedure one or two times. In most cases, a small stuck object will be thrown out from the mouth.
If all the above elementary measures fail, do not waste time and consult the doctor immediately. In the emergency room, after initial examination, the doctor may recommend X-ray or CT scan to locate the exact site of the object. He may then remove it by inserting an endoscope. The patient may require to be sedated during the procedure.