Is It Dangerous To Choke On Rice And Chest Tightness?

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Doctor.. on March 30, 2014 I once choked on rice, because I felt that it would come out by itself (because it would cough) so I let it go and then 5 days later I went to the hospital (because my chest felt tight = I was afraid it would be more dangerous) and said the doctor, “The possibility of food entering the lungs is very small, usually when the food is inhaled there will be a cough reflex because there are fine hairs in the throat that guard it. If the chest feels tight, it is usually psychosomatic (anxiety) because it feels the food is still stuck in the throat even though it is already tight. come out when coughing.” but I feel the rice is still in my throat (or maybe it has reached the lungs) because my chest is tight (only the left lung) and my neck feels suffocated but I can still breathe until now. My question.. 1. can the rice enter the lungs (by passing through the fine hairs in the throat)? 2. If possible, what are the causes of the rice not being coughed up by the fluff? 3. If the rice has indeed managed to enter the lungs, is there any attempt by the body to destroy the rice (by rice it is soft and easily crushed) or will it be fatal to the lungs? 4. What operation can remove the rice and what is the estimated cost? Thank you.. Please enlighten me..

1 Answer:

Hello, Mohamad, thanks for asking

Choking is indeed something that can lead to fatal things such as lack of oxygen if the size of the object that enters the airway is sufficient to enter and clog the airway. In addition, choking can cause complications such as injury to the airways or infection of the lungs (if the object enters the lungs and does not come out). The reflex of an adult person when choking is to cough as a defense mechanism of the airway against foreign objects. If the cough reflex is strong enough, the object will be pushed out of the airway so that it no longer blocks the airway. However, if the cough reflex is not strong then the object will remain in the airway which if not immediately helped can cause the person to be unable to breathe.

The rice can get into your throat and lungs if you don't cough or don't have a strong cough reflex. If you have a strong cough then you should not worry, especially if the object is rice which tends to be easy to cough up or vomit. The sensation of tightness and lump in the throat can be due to irritation of the throat due to a loud cough (trying to expel rice) or due to other causes such as psychosomatic and acid reflux disease. Irritation of the throat can cause swelling and mucus production in the throat which can cause a lumpy sensation in the throat.

In healthy people, things that enter will be destroyed and removed by fine hair (cilia), mucus, and immune cells (macrophages). However, some of these conditions determine the risk of developing an infection in the lungs due to choking (aspiration pneumonia):

1.    The type of object that enters

2.    Volume / number of objects that enter

3.    The patient’s body defense

If you don't feel any symptoms such as abnormal breathing (difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, wheezing), fever, weakness, coughing, chest pain, then you don't need to worry. However, if you experience the above symptoms, immediately consult a doctor, the doctor will examine your body completely, and may carry out supporting examinations such as x-rays, blood tests, and endoscopy. Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the disease. Not all circumstances require surgery.

What can be done now is to drink more water, control your stress, and be more careful when eating (eg do not eat while talking or lying down). Here is an article on choking and first aid, which can be read for additional information. That's it, I hope it's useful.


dr. Sarah Rizqia

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