Getting a pill stuck in your throat have the right to be a terrifying moment, however rarely is it a clinical emergency.

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If someone you know has swallowed a pill yet it end up obstructing their airway and also the human can’t breathe, shot the five-and-five technique or the Heimlich maneuver. Before you do either that these, have actually someone speak to 911.

To execute the five-and-five method through the Red Cross, follow this steps:

Stand behind the person, placing one arm throughout their chest, and also lean them forward at the waist.With the heel of your hand, give five blows to their back, between the shoulder blades.Place the ignorance side of her fist over their navel, versus the middle of their abdomen.Hold top top to your wrist v the other hand.Give five fast upward thrusts come the abdomen.Repeat until the human being coughs or the pill come out.

To perform simply abdominal thrusts, additionally known as the Heimlich maneuver, follow these steps:

Stand behind the person and also wrap your arms approximately their waist.Lean the choking human forward slightly.Make a fist v your hand and also place the slightly over the who navel.Use your other hand to host on to your wrist.Press into the person’s abdomen in a quick, upward motion.Repeat 5 times, if needed.

If the human being is unconscious, place them ~ above the ground and clear their airway with your finger if you can. Be careful not to push the pill farther under their throat.


If she alone and also a pill is obstructing her airway so you can’t breathe, follow this steps:

Make a fist and also place it over your navel.Use your other hand to host onto your fist.Bend over a hard surface favor a chair, railing, or table edge.Push your fist right into the abdomen in a quick, upward movement.

If the human being is coughing, it method they can breathe and also that their airway isn’t 100 percent obstructed. Encourage lock to proceed coughing to obtain the pill out.

Pills do not do it be left in the neck to dissolve. A pill have the right to burn the lining that the throat, resulting in esophagitis, a condition where the esophagus i do not care inflamed. Esophagitis can likewise be brought about by other conditions, such together gastroesophageal reflux condition (GERD), infections, or injury. This have the right to make swallowing difficult and painful.

You deserve to also try this method:

Put water in your mouth.Lie down flat.Swallow.

The water need to flush the pill down your esophagus. Lying under will help relax your neck so the pill can move. It might take a few gulps, but typically a glass that water will certainly dislodge the most stubborn that pills.


Most often, pills obtain stuck in a person’s throat because there isn’t enough moisture to help the pill slide down. Pills, including coated ones and gel caps, are often difficult to swallow without liquid.

Pills will most likely become stuck in a who cricopharyngeus muscle, or the sphincter in ~ the top of the esophagus. Human being who have disorders entailing this muscle often have challenge swallowing pills.

Young children and seniors regularly have the many trouble swallowing pills.

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Here room a couple of ways you can prevent a pill becoming lodged in her throat:

Take the pill through plenty the liquids. Drink water before, during, and after girlfriend swallow the pill will certainly ensure it won’t get stuck.Give your throat muscles some room to job-related by tilting your head forward.Take your pill v applesauce, a gelatin dessert, or yogurt, uneven the medication needs to be tackled an empty stomach.Check through your pharmacist about whether your pills can be crushed up and mixed through food or dissolved in water.

critical medically the review on respectable 15, 2017


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Medically reviewed by Elaine K. Luo, M.D. — written by Brian Krans — to update on July 30, 2018

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