Please inform me as soon as you can! I swallowed a sweet a few hours ago that went down the wrong pipe. It tried to come up but I couldn’t get it out so I pushed it down. Now it still feels stuck. My family says it’s nothing to worry about but what will happen to it and will I be ok?
Normally when someone swallows food there is a sequence of events that occurs to prevent food from entering the airway. First you stop breathing, then the voice box (larynx) rises, the vocal cords come together and finally a flap of cartilage called the epiglottis covers the voice box (larynx). Below is an interactive website to visualize the normal process of swallowing:
Sometimes when swallowing you may breathe in at the same time so that flap of cartilage (the epiglottis) is not able to not cover your wind pipe, which allows food to go down the “wrong pipe”. If this occurs your vocal cords may spasm and you may also cough which helps to try and expel the food from the wind pipe (trachea) into the food pipe (esophagus). If you are unable to cough it out then it enters the lungs.
If this occurs repeatedly then it can lead to an infection or damage to the lungs. If an infection were to be present you would have symptoms including: fever, cough producing foul smelling or green phlegm, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
If you are not having any of the above symptoms then it is unlikely that you have caused any damage to your lungs. If you begin to have any of the above symptoms you should visit your doctor.