How do you feel about seafood?
Although it’s not everyone’s favorite thing to eat, a local filet of fish that was freshly caught can be one of the best things in the world. Still, the freshest fish you’ll ever eat often still has the bones in it. As anyone who has had this experience knows, getting tiny fishbones caught in your mouth can be irritating—and if they get caught in your throat they can also be dangerous. In situations like those, it’s important to know what to do.
Fortunately, we have a guide to help you out if it ever happens to you.
First, you’ll want to be able to identify if you’ve accidentally swallowed a fishbone.
While this seems overly obvious, sometimes it’s not so clear. If you’ve eaten fish recently and are feeling tenderness or sharp pain in your throat, strange prickling sensations or are coughing up some blood, you may have a fishbone lodged back there. Particularly in the case of blood coming from the throat, it’s important not to worry.
If you’re unsure, the fish that you’re most likely to catch some kind of bone from are fish like shad, pike, trout, salmon and carp.
Next, you’ll want to try some different ways of getting the bone out of your throat. Although your mileage may vary, here are some of the most common ways to do it.
Although it can be unpleasant, forcing yourself to cough is often the first step in getting anything from the back of your throat dislodged. The process of moving air in and around whatever’s lodged back there can create enough pressure to force it out. If it doesn’t work and starts to hurt too much, however, move on to something else.
2. Olive Oil
After that, try to drink a little bit of olive oil. Although this is typically an unusual thing to do, the viscous and smooth nature of olive oil is gentle on your throat and can serve as a lubricant. As an added bonus, it won’t dissolve right away and can continue to work on the stuck fishbone even if it doesn’t clear immediately. Eventually, the bone may get too heavy from absorbing the oil and you’ll be able to safely swallow it.
If nothing else works, you can also try swallowing a marshmallow whole (or almost whole). Start by making sure you have a jumbo-sized marshmallow and chew it just a little bit to give it some texture—that way, it’ll have some stickiness and some edges to catch the bone as you swallow it. If this doesn’t work, we still have other options available as well.
Similar to the mushroom method, sometimes bananas can work the same way. To use one of these instead, take a few bites of banana and keep it in your mouth for an extended period of time so that it gets gooey and dissolves a bit. When you’re ready, swallow the whole thing. Just like the above method, the softness of the fruit should be easy enough to eat and with any luck will catch the bone.
5. Water and Bread
If the other methods failed you, wetting down some bread with a little bit of water can also do the trick. Start by dunking the bread in water so that it absorbs a fair amount of liquid. Next, ball it up and put it in your mouth. The goal will be to swallow it whole! Like the other methods, the combination of moisture and texture should help in pulling the bone out.
6. Sip Vinegar
Needless to say, vinegar is not exactly the most pleasant thing in the world to drink. Still, it can be effective at dislodging fishbones. Start by diluting some vinegar a little bit with some water and sip on it gently. While this one doesn’t exactly work to dislodge the fishbone in and of itself, the harshness of the vinegar may be strong enough to dissolve the bone somewhat. After all, fishbones tend to be very fragile.
7. Seek Medical Attention
Finally, if all else fails you can always go see a doctor to help you out. Although fishbones in the throat aren’t usually a life-threatening issue (and they may not even choke you in most cases), it still remains a nuisance when you’re trying to eat throughout the day. While we hope it doesn’t get to this level, a doctor will definitely be able to give you the help you need.
Have you tried any of these methods in the past? Which ones work for you the best? Let us know in the comments.
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