Min-esophagus Wheats
May 27, 2009 8:33 AM   Subscribe

I just inhaled a piece of cereal. I think I can feel it in my windpipe, just around collarbone level. Is there anything I can do to get it out?

I was eating Mini-Wheats and I aspirated a little shred of wheat. I coughed, but my mouth was full of more dry cereal so I couldn't really cough well for fear of inhaling even more. I can breathe fine, but I'm pretty sure the piece of cereal is still sitting in my windpipe, maybe a little below my collarbone. It feels tickly and annoying.

Anything I can do to get it out, or improve my coughing efficacy to try & bring it up again? What the heck happens to inhaled food? Am I gonna grow a damn pine tree in my ling?
posted by pseudostrabismus to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
Don't panic. If its in your windpipe, you'll start coughing until it dislodges. Otherwise, you're fine.
posted by jefficator at 8:41 AM on May 27, 2009

Ditto- if it really is there, it will dislodge. Sometimes a sensation of food being stuck just lingers, even though it's not there.
posted by Eicats at 8:49 AM on May 27, 2009

eat a piece of toast with peanut butter
posted by wayofthedodo at 8:54 AM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: Inhaled food can cause pneumonia, but it's much more likely to clear up on its own. If it keeps bothering you, go see your doctor, who might prescribe expectorants to help dissolve the piece of food.

It's probably good that what you inhaled was wheat, not a piece of peanut, since they're so hard to dissolve. Sometimes a case of what seems to be treatment-resistant asthma turns out to be an inhaled peanut, which has to be removed with a bronchoscope.
posted by Ery at 8:54 AM on May 27, 2009

It probably just scratched you on the way down.
posted by radioamy at 9:12 AM on May 27, 2009

Seconding radioamy. My mom is a doctor and as a kid I always thought I had something "stuck" in there, and she said that feeling is probably just whatever scratching you on the way down. It happened to me a lot with like, lemon seeds from lemonade. I'm still around and haven't sprouted any trees.
posted by sweetkid at 9:48 AM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: Ery has it. You'll probably be fine, but see your doctor if anything seems really amiss. My great grandmother died due to complications of pneumonia from an inhaled rice grain.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:57 AM on May 27, 2009

eat a piece of toast with peanut butter
Why? Is this a tricky way to make your body think everything's ok? Unless you're suggestion she also aspirate the peanutbutter, which is a bad idea.
posted by purpletangerine at 12:40 PM on May 27, 2009

Blow your nose. I've had this happen, and all the coughing in the world doesn't bring it up, but if I blow my nose it comes out. It also hurts like hell.

I once inhaled an altoid and had it come out of my nose. It hurts just to think about it.
posted by dogmom at 8:38 PM on May 27, 2009

Response by poster: I'm pretty sure it really was stuck in there- this kind of thing happens to me periodically and blowing my nose or coughing has totally cleared up the scratchy feeling within a few minutes, but this time it was different. I could feel it all day, not just as a residual scratchy feeling, but 99% sure as an actual foreign body. And I really don't think it's come out yet, which would mean there's a shred of shreddie in my lung now. But I'm young & healthy and so I'm just gonna keep an eye on myself for pneumonia symptoms and assume this kind of thing has happened to lots of people... Hopefully it decomposes into slime and my little cilia do their job and sweep it back up in a clot of extra-starchy hork one fine day.
Thanks for the advice, hive.

I guess it says something about me that I was choking and my first instinct was to ask the internet what to do about it. If I die from this, could someone please make sure this thread is included in my eulogy?
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:44 AM on May 29, 2009

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