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dumitus's avatar

How likely is it for a pill to get stuck in the airway?

Asked by dumitus (657points) August 14th, 2012

I have this unreasonable fear that a pill will get stuck in the middle of my airway and suffocate me.
Knowing that it won’t and lumps of food much bigger than a pill go down the way smoothly doesn’t help ward off the fear.
So if someone told me I will never ever die of a pill it would go a long way.

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3 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

A pill won’t get stuck in your “airway” unless you swallow it wrong. I’d be more concerned about choking on a piece of meat that hadn’t been chewed enough. I expect that’s much more common. How often do you choke on actual food? Probably not often, so it’s much less likely that you’ll choke on a pill.

Aside from the fact that it can’t hurt you unless it “goes down the wrong way”, most pills consumed by humans are far smaller than the diameter of the airway. So even if you do swallow the pill badly and it goes down the airway instead of the esophagus, it will go (and you can probably cough it out later). It won’t choke you; it’s not large enough.

Sunny2's avatar

To lessen your fear, here is the way to take a pill. Have a glass of water ready to drink. Hold your head looking straight ahead, not tipping your chin up. Put the pill on the tip of the tongue. Swallow the water and the pill will go down with it. Even large pills will go down easily. The water closes off the trachea or windpipe automatically.
Taking a pill without liquid isn’t a good idea if you have concerns about taking pills.
Try it.

gailcalled's avatar

For most pills, unless contraindicated, you can grind them up into a powder and take with a little applesauce.

(That is a way of giving pets medications also…Yogurt works as well.)

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