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What to do if you swallow a fishbone


Fish bones by asobitsuchiya

Fish bones by asobitsuchiya

On Monday Paola and I had cod for dinner  and I noticed some bones in the fish. But as I said “Watch out for the bones.” I felt a sharp pain in my throat, and strangely up into my ear.

I coughed like a cat with fur balls, drank water, and tried to dislodge the bone with more food from my meal. It was to no avail, so I did what anyone would do when faced with a medical problem – I checked the Internet.

After looking at a few articles along the lines of “I swallowed a fish bone – will it kill me?”, which also suggested swallowing bread (I did) to dislodge the bone, I found this article by Dr Ravi Seshadri, an Otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist to you and me). In the article he suggests that it can be quite serious and to seek medical help. The fish bone suddenly felt as if it was cutting through my throat from the inside out.

Suitably worried by now, I phoned NHS24, which provides online and telephone medical help in Scotland. After leaving details about my condition, I was phoned back with the recommendation that I go to hospital to get it checked out in the A&E. This did not help alleviate my worry.

When I was finally seen by a doctor (over two hours later) she had a good look down my throat. She said that she could see a scratch but no bone, though I still felt something there. Her next advice surprised me – she said to buy and drink something fizzy. Apparently this can help to move any foreign bodies in the throat.  She then checked again, still couldn’t see anything, and sent me home.

She told me that even though it still felt as if the bone was there, there is no difference in feeling between a bone lodged in my throat and a bad scratch. She told me that the vast majority of people who can in reporting a bone lodged in the throat simply have a scratch. The bigger concern in my case was to prevent infection so I was to gargle salty water twice before bed and again in the morning. If it was still painful the following evening, I was to return and get an x-ray.

Although it was irritating to go into the A&E, I was reassured to have a doctor check it out and proclaim me OK.

The next day as promised there was no pain.

Note: I’m not a doctor and this does not constitute medical advice.

Monday Workout: On the minute for 10 minutes, 5 DB deadlifts, 5 hang cleans, 5 thrusters; followed by 3×5 DB Presses; 5 DB Snatches

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6 Responses

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  1. Nadia said

    Okay that makes sense. My 2 year old swallowed a fish bone and
    I got scared when I saw that other post about dying from a fish bone.
    I will try the fizzy stuff thing…

  2. theresa said

    mynine yr old swallowed a f/bone,very traumatic!!!! but thank you the fizzy drink helped!!!!! we are very happy! thank you!

  3. S said

    i swallowed one last night and im so scared to go into hospital, i ate so many balls of rice but that didnt help, ive just had some fizzy drink and although my throat still feels weird, i cant feel the shark pain anymore, so THANK YOU!

  4. S said

    😐 still not gone.

  5. Sam said

    Got one stuck in my throat last week. I was pretty scared. I went to sleep and the next morning it was still there in the back of my throat. Tried a swallowing technique as follows. Swallow but don’ t keep your throat open and try pushing the back of your throat forward. After a few minutes of trying this, the muscles in my throat pushed the bone out onto my tongue and i was able to spit it out. If that had not worked, I would have gone to the doc to have it removed. Luckily, the bone was lodged fairly high up in the back of my throat and this muscle contracting technique worked.

  6. Jess said

    Same thing happened to me, and coke seemed to help. I too looked straight to the Internet and everone says bread but coke worked for me too. Was a horrible experience actually very scarey I was at a wedding and didn’t want to make a scene so was in the toilet with my fingers down my throat trying anything to move it! Didn’t see anything on net about fizzy drinks was just a fluke that I chose it, spread the word fizzy drinks for fish bone trauma!!

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