If you’ve got a pill stuck in your throat, the first thing to do is not to panic!
In this post, we’ll discuss what you can do right now to help fix the problem. We’ll also give you tips on how to fix the problem for the future, helping pills go down as easily as possible.

Call 911 and Perform The Heimlich Maneuver

If you’re alone and there’s nobody around, call 911 immediately. After you’re on the phone with the operator, try to explain the situation and begin performing the Heimlich maneuver.

  1. Bend yourself over a table, a chair or sofa, or the edge of your kitchen counter.
  2. Make a fist with one hand and place it above your navel, with the thumb facing in.
  3. Use your other hand to grab the fist by the wrist and thrust it up into your stomach.
  4. Repeat these thrusts as forcefully as possible until you cough and can breathe freely.

Hit Their Back With The Heel of Your Hand

If you are performing the procedure on another person, you can use the heel of your hand to hit their back forcefully, in between their shoulder blades. A good couple of hits can dislodge the pill.

Signs of breathing, such as gasping or coughing, mean that you were able to dislodge the pill. If a person is coughing, let them continue to cough, and help them along by hitting their back to help them loosen the blockage.

The Person Is Unconscious, What Should I Do?

If another person is unconscious and has a pill stuck in their throat, call 911 immediately.

Begin performing chest compressions after laying the person on their back. Keep checking their mouth for the pill, but don’t stick your finger inside, as it can get the pill stuck further into their throat.

Helpful Tips To Avoid Getting a Pill Stuck In Throat

Here are some tips to help make pills go down easier and avoid getting them stuck in the first place:

  • Hydration can help lubricate the path of the pill, so drink as much water as you need to swallow the pill smoothly. Drink before and after you gulp the pill down.
  • Relax your throat while you swallow. Try tilting your head forward as you swallow.
  • Take the pill with a portion of soft food that’s easy to swallow, such as applesauce or yogurt.
  • Consult your doctor about whether you can crush the pill, or receive the medication in an alternative form, such as syrup or powder. You can’t crush just any pill without potentially changing the effects of the drug.
  • Learn to relax and take a deep breath; you might have anxiety surrounding swallowing a pill. This can cause the muscles of the throat to tighten.

We hope that these tips help give you some confidence as you take your pills. Fortunately, most of the time, the pill isn’t stuck in the airway, but in the esophagus leading into the stomach. Learning how to relax as you take your pills, and drinking enough water or taking them with food, can help them go down easy.

With over 13 years of combined experience, Hermosa Dental uses the most advanced technology to perform safe and comfortable dental procedures for all of our patients. We’re open on weekends and offer convenient and affordable appointments. If you have any questions or concerns, we’d be happy to help you. Call us at (713) 695-3400 for our East Little York location, (832) 427-1797 for our Highway 6 location, and (281) 747-7004 for our Porter location.