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How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat

By Max. D Gray. Updated: March 10, 2017
How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat

Whether in a hurry, excited about something delicious or simply not paying attention, it is common for food to get stuck in our throat because we haven't chewed properly. With hard, crunchy or large pieces of food, this is even more likely. While the majority of cases will find that the food stuck in the throat causes little problem and any blockage can be removed quickly, there are possible instances where a blockage of food can lead to infection. If there is a severe blockage, you will know quickly enough that something needs to be done as you will start to choke and find breathing difficult. This oneHOWTO article shows you how to remove food stuck in throat if it is only a minor obstruction, but will also flag other possible concerns.

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Steps to follow:
1

Though there are many reasons why you may get food stuck in your throat, you should know that most foods dissolve over time. So, if the piece is not causing too much trouble, let it dissolve naturally with the saliva in the throat. If this fails, try drinking a little cold water to help loosen the blockage. Water helps the process by flushing out the sides and bring it along in its flow. If cold water doesn't help with the food stuck in your throat, you can try some warm water or even some tea. Do not use very hot water as this can burn your throat and cause even greater problems, especially if it is not actually food stuck in your throat which is the problem (see below). It may even help to lie down flat on your back and try to drink the water as gravity is also introduced to help dislodge the stuck food. Repeat a few times if unsuccessful on the first go.

How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat - Step 1
2

If the food is still stuck in your throat, then you can try adding some salt to the warm water you have been drinking before. Stir it into the water so that it dissolves and then gargle with it. This may help, but you will need to be careful as, although the food stuck in your throat may be dislodged, the salt water can induce vomiting. This is partly because gargling any kind of liquid can cause your gag reflex to trigger, but also because salt water can make your stomach react and also cause vomiting. You also probably don't need the sodium.

If gargling with water or salt water isn't enough to remove the food stuck in your throat, then you can try with some other liquids. Hydrogen peroxide, although very nasty in its undiluted form, can be useful for dislodging blockages or even soothing any agitation food stuck in the throat may have caused. Use the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and mix with equal parts warm water (a capful of each should do). Gargle as you did before and it should help dislodge the stuck food. If you don't have any hydrogen peroxide, you can try the same method with some apple cider vinegar. This time use a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per small cup of warm water. You can use a stronger solution, but the apple cider vinegar can erode tooth enamel so rinse well and brush your teeth afterwards. Adding a tablespoon of honey to either solution may not directly help remove food stuck in the throat, bu it won't hurt and will make the process easier.

3

Another method to remove food stuck in the throat is to try to eat something soft. This may be as simple as continuing to eat what you were eating before as the next food coming down the throat can help dislodge the stuck food. However, there are circumstances where this could make it worse, especially if the food stuck in your throat is already difficult to swallow. Choosing something like bread or some sticky rice will serve you better if you want to remove the stuck food as it will stick to it. If using bread, either dip it in some water or let it soak in your own saliva before swallowing. The sticky rice should work on it its own.

Like with gargling the salt water or hydrogen peroxide, it might be helpful to add a little honey to the food stuck in your throat as it will help it stick. If the food is stuck hard in your throat, you may find that you'll have to spit the food out rather than have it go down towards the stomach, so be very careful not to choke if trying to remove stuck food in the throat this way. It is best to have someone else present if possible so that that can provide assistance if something goes wrong.

How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat - Step 3
4

Another trick you can try is to cough it out with a controlled, vocal cough. This will constrict the throat and then expel any particles that are stuck. To do this you can take in a deep breath of air and then try to contract your throat muscles. As you contract these muscles, use your abdominal muscles to try to push air up your throat again. The air should push against the food stuck in your throat and make you cough it out. Do not do this too often, even if you have food still stuck in your throat, as it can lead to choking and be dangerous.

How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat - Step 4
5

Another technique to remove food stuck in he throat involves something many people find distasteful. This is to swallow a raw egg. The emulsified egg can help the obstruction in your throat move and bring the food with it as it enters the stomach. While raw eggs in themselves are not actually bad for you, there is a slight risk of bacterial contamination which can lead to problems such as salmonella. If this is the case then even if you remove the food stuck in your throat, you may not be in a good condition. This risk is actually very low (some studies saying as low as 1 in 30,000 eggs may be contaminated), but to reduce this risk, wash the outside of the shell before you crack the egg as this can be where the bacteria comes from rather than inside.

6

If you think the obstruction is very serious, you may need a more drastic solution. If somebody else is in the room, then the Heimlich manoeuvre might be able to dislodge the food stuck in your throat. This is a method whereby you put pressure on the person's abdomen to push air back through the system. This way the food stuck in your throat will be forced out along with the air. This is similar to making yourself cough, but only when this doesn't provide enough pressure. If you are really stuck and there is no one else around, you may be able to make yourself gag and remove the food stuck in your throat this way. To do this, extend your forefinger and middle finger and push down the back of your throat. This will enable your gag reflex and you may be able to pass the stuck food this way.

However, these are for emergency situations and you should be confidant in first aid if you attempt to use them. If you have food stuck in your throat for a long time, it is best t go see a doctor and be careful not to do anything to yourself which could cause further harm or discomfort.

How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat - Step 6
7

Did these tricks work for you? If they didn't, then perhaps you never actually had food stuck in your throat in the first place. Perhaps it is a symptom of some other condition. If you think this may be the case, then check out our article on why you feel like you have food stuck in your throat to learn about the possible reasons.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

Tips
  • However, if what you eat passes easily, but you still feel like there is something stuck in the throat, you may have passed the piece and the feeling you are experiencing is just the scratch caused by the piece that was stuck. In this case, wait until your stomach is empty and gargle with warm salt water. This will ensure that no bacteria forms around the throat that may cause the onset of cough or flu-like symptoms.
  • If, no matter what, you still have food stuck in your throat, then we advise you to go to the doctor so you can be checked up by a doctor who can determine how to get rid of this foreign agent in your throat.

Write a comment about How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat

What did you think of this article?
46 comments
Danny
i been drinking a lot cold water die coke to remove the pickle stuck in my throat and i feel it going down little bit but its still there
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Danny,

Have you tried any solid food?
Rating:
Jack
I had food stuck in my throat, I tried the first step where you lay down on your back and let gravity take over. I began gagging a little, but as soon as the water began flushing down into my throat, I felt the lump of food head down my throat. It felt like a rock going through a tube, weird feeling. Anyways, step 1 worked for me, so I give this 5 stars! I don't even need to look at the other steps.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Jack,

Thanks for sharing, we're so glad this article was useful. It's not always easy getting out food which has been stuck, but being patient and methodical is always best to ensure the situation doesn't worsen. Hopefully others who read this will find it equally useful.
Linda
If your airway is blocked, or it becomes hard to breathe - GO TO THE EMERGENCY
If you can breathe properly and just experiencing discomfort and can afford to wait it out - TRY COKE, it really works
If you are freaking out or in doubt - GO TO THE EMERGENCY, they are used to seeing cases like this.

Just my two cents
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Linda,

Thanks for your input!
mary
I had a piece of hard candy stuck about three hours ago. urgent care told me to go to an ER, I quickly found some web site that said try drinking coke. I did that and it worked. I t was very painful to swallow and water wasn
t doing it. I was amazed how the coke worked and it saved me from going t an ER,
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Mary

Thank you for your comment and we’re glad coke worked for you and you didn’t have to go to the ER!

Regards

oneHOWTO
Rating:
Amit
Whenever i drink water.. and after sometime of i cough purposely lil bit of water comes out.. it feels like something is stuck in my throat.. but i didn't find any trouble in swallowing food.. but it feels like something is stuck up there..
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Amit,

These articles are for information purposes only and unfortunately we cannot diagnose anything in these comments. If you are worried about this issue, we advise asking a doctor who can perform an appropriate examination to diagnose any possible problems.
Ringkhang
I vomitted after taking home made wine made with rice... I was in hangover i forgot to take any water and was it.. It is now dried inside my throad n not coming out causing severe pain and inside throat its like buming out.. increase in size.. please help me out
OneHowTo Editor
Hello Ringkhang,

These articles are for informative purposes only. We cannot diagnose, so any health concerns should be diagnosed and treated by medical professionals only.
Zach Sery
I Have Dry Chinese Noodle stuck into My Throat
How are Chinese Noodle are Gone into My Throat
bullcoughlin
i have afriend with a piece of meet stuck in his ehrout near the stomick aere what should i do???
Adam
On september the 14th i was drinking juice from a juicebox while sipping through a straw i noticed something touching the ceiling of my mouth and i knew inmediately i swallowed something i should have not swallowed. Tried to vomit and cough it out but was worthless. Went to ER and the Dr. said i should wait for a day or so to pass, he didn't cared much about. Today i still feel awful but not only from that particular incident. I was unlucky enough to go through the same thing 20 days later while eating a muffin in a hurry. But this time i felt complete blockage of my airways. Went to E.R. yet again but this time, they took me an X-Ray and according to the technician nothing could be seen. Today i can barely go to the bathroom to do number 2 and i feel dizzy and tired 24/7. I don't know what to do anymore.
Lacy
I have a piece of Fruit by the Foot candy stuck in my throat, and I'm gulping water down to swallow it. It's probably sticking tightly so it's not coming off. Help!! What do I do?
(Don't worry it's not THAT serious)
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Lacy. If after 24 hours you haven't managed to swallow it, we think it's best you visit your doctor.
Hope this helps

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