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Swallowed a bug or dry leaf but stuck in throat

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Hi I swallowed whatcould have been a bug or a dry leaf of some sort, and 8 hours later it is still stuck in my throat and I'm afraid it could block my airway at some point. can this happen?

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian is online now

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 4 Days.


Thank you for asking your query at DoctorSpring.

NO it will not block your airway. Once you swallow it, it will move towards the stomach in the esophagus - (Food Pipe)and soon it will pass away from the opening of windpipe (in few seconds). So unless you have severe cough or breathlessness there is no reason to worry. (Cough or breathlessness shows there is foreign body in the lungs or windpipe.). The bug / foreign body has no possibility of entering your lungs now.

Being said that, do not attempt self induced vomiting or retching , whcih can bring it back near the windpipe. The 'stuck feeling' probable is due to the abrasion caused by the foreign body, while it has already moved down. You can eat soft bulky food. Try having a tablespoon of butter also. This is smoothen it down even if something is stuck. Avoid hot / spicy irritant food for a couple of days.

Hope this helps.
Please feel free to ask followup questions.

Thank you

Patient replied :

Thank you for the quick reply.

Just to be sure I would like to ask you a few things.

It's been 24 hrs, I still feel my throat a little blocked but haven't had sever cough or shortness of breath. Regardless of what it was that I accidentally swallowed (All i know it must have fallen out of a tree or something) is it safe to say that by know there is no chance of it blocking my airways? should I be on the look for any specific symptoms within the next days or can I just forget about it completely by now?

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 3 Days.


We can reasonably assume that there is no chance of it blocking the airways , especially since you do not have respiratory symptoms.

The respiratory epithelium is supersensitive ( for the purpose of its own protection). So even a minute foreign body will evoke all kind of reactions. Body will try to expel it via cough and mucous production. Since none of these has happened we can assume that the FB has not gone into the lungs or is not lodged near the windpipe. Most probably the FB has gone down the esophagus.

Yes, you should be on look out for any cough, breathlessness, or hoarse sound while breathing. The chances for these symptoms to appear is less, nevertheless be watchful.

Hope this helps.
Feel free to ask any additional queries.

Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian
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MD, Internal Medicine - Stanley Medical School
Medical School - MBBS - Govt. Medical College, Kottyaam

Diagnostic Prediction - Stanford School of Medicine
Received Specialty training in Critical Care, Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology from Stanley Medical College and in Endocrinology, Rheumatology.

Hematology and Geriatrics from Madras Medical College.
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