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How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat

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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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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 doe 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'd like to read similar articles to How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat, we recommend you browse around our Family health category.

  • 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.
Comments (15)

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What did you think of this article?
This is abit disgusting but it helped me after having some mince stuck down my throat.. I tried drinking water, and also drinking pepsi max I also tried before doing them 2 coughing to get it out it didn't work I tried continually spitting and swallowing it it worked.
This helped alot. I was going through sooooooo much pain. I'm only 11 too
I was eating toxic waste and I did u directions,thx!
I've been suffering with food getting stuck about 5 years now. When mine sticks I can't swallow anything not even a sip of water I just keep chocking. I have tried inducing vomit, forcing drink which then goes in my nose, I learned one day if cake frosting is around sometimes it will go down with that. Most recently I was desperate it was a severe storm out and I was all alone. I opened the pantry and was looking for a thick consistency other than oil . I saw a small can of sweetened condensed milk. I took a teaspoon and it worked. I've used it three times now. Give it a try.
OneHowTo Editor
Thanks for the advice!
Seth Ondera
I was chocking on a tortilla chip. I was able to breathe but felt an excruciating stabbing pain. What I did and it helped. Lay down flat and swallow water about 2 or 3 times or until the pain has stopped
OneHowTo Editor
Thanks for your comment Seth, it will surely be useful for our users!
My 20-year-old son has a gummy bear stuck on the side of his throat we've tried water eating food eating bread warm water him hanging upside down him coughing anybody have any suggestions on how to get this out of his throat so he can go to sleep without suffocating
I just went through a horrible 8 hrs today with a piece of chicken stuck in my throat. I tried everything...DIET COKE saved me an ER visit. One little sip...felt like it was going to come up...a bigger gulp and down went the chicken. The foam or something Holy crap I can swallow! I have reflux and have had this problem for over ten years. It's scary and it total sucks - try being in a meeting and having to excuse yourself to go spit out your saliva because you can't swallow it. Hopefully there will be a solution beside an anti-acid every day. I've heard there is a procedure you can have to stretch you throat but even with insurance who wants to deal with the hospital??? Try it!
I have been suffering from swallowing problems for almost 2 months now and as a result been living on liquids. I was told by a number of doctors that I was fine I should just eat until this week a renowned ENT told me there was a problem with my Larynx and I need a neurological evaluation. he advised me to eat liquids and purees with my chin tucked into my chest. I been doing it for a few days and feel like it is making it more difficult to go down. Long story short, I just ate some apple sauce and some of it went down the right side of my windpipe. It made me cough and try to clear my voice. It freaked me out cause I am home alone. It has been a few hours now and it feels a bit irritated on my right side of my throat. MY question is do I just let it be, go to the ER, try to go to sleep? Any help
OneHowTo Editor
Wait for 24h and go to the ER if the pain hasn't stopped or go directly if you feel it is worstening. Hope this helps
After 10 hours of a piece of pear stuck in the back of my throat, I tried water/bread & ice cream just for fun.
Cough cough cough... I thought... Gravity! so I got on the bed, propped my but up a bit and it worked, within minutes the offending piece of pear (fruit is so innocent yea?) was coughed out!!
went to E.R. and had an endoscopy. While a severe response - I was scared if I tried to dislodge it - it would end up in a wind pipe and cause me to suffocate. Over - thank God.

How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat
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How to Remove Food Stuck in the Throat