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The act of swallowing requires the work of about 50 nerves and muscles, according to the Mayo Clinic. The swallowing process can be obstructed if a large piece of food gets stuck in your throat. This can be anything from a sizeable piece of meat to a chicken or fish bone. Signs that something is stuck at the back of the throat include gagging, lack of oxygen, vomiting and the inability to speak. Properly chewing your food before swallowing can prevent discomfort or chocking.
Stay calm when you or someone in your presence begins gagging or choking. If needed, administer the Heimlich manoeuvre. Stand behind the victim and make a fist with one hand. Place the thumb of your fist above the victim's belly button and below the breastbone. Cover your fist with your other hand. Thrust upward and inward with your fists to compress the lungs. Keep thrusting until the food dislodges.
Dissolve the food with water. Fill a cup with hot water that is not too hot to burn your mouth. Sip the hot water. Your may dissolve the food upon the first sip or several sips later.
Dislodge the food that's stuck by consuming large amounts of liquid or big pieces of food. Fill a cup with cold water and gulp it down. Gargle with vinegar if it's a fish bone that is stuck in your throat. Vinegar will soften the bone. Eat a large piece of bread or potato to push the food down.
Open your mouth wide to see whether you can reach the piece of food with your fingers.
- Mayo Clinic: Difficulty Swallowing; Oct. 10, 2009
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