Ear, Nose & Throat

Popcorn kernel stuck in throat: How to get rid of it with natural remedies

Popcorn kernel stuck in throat can be the most terrible feeling you have experienced. We need to know what to do now to get rid of it. Let’s go.

Having some popcorn in a big tub is one of the most favourite first time for many individuals. Combination of popcorn with some cheddar cheese remains a luxury. Many take pleasure in having some popcorn while being in the comfort of home.

While having some popcorn, you may feel lumpy or scratchy sensation in your throat. This may be because of some popcorn kernel stuck in throat lining. Not always it remains a simple scratchy sensation, and in occasional cases, it may even block the air passage of your throat resulting in a terrifying experience.

It is a difficult task to remove any foreign body that got stuck in the throat and causing a choking sensation. Popcorn kernel or shells often get stuck in the throat causing a severe choking.

They adhere to the throat lining, and in many cases, they may also block the throat. It may thus give rise to a frightening situation. So, a cool moment of having some popcorn while watching your favourite movie or series can turn into a nightmare in no time.

How to get rid of popcorn kernel stuck in throat:

popcorn kernel stuck in throat
Popcorn kernel stuck in throat
Image source: stylecraze.com

Now how to get rid of this popcorn kernel stuck in throat. Coughing is the simplest method of removing any tiny object that got stuck in the throat. This process is known as the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Here the air is powerfully expelled from the lungs accompanied by induced vomiting. Such action, however, does not seem to help much in this situation and may even lodge the popcorn kernel stuck in throat more instead of eliminating it.

In case, you do find yourself in this embarrassing, difficult and helpless condition just do not panic. Do this at first and then follow certain steps patiently to naturally get rid of the popcorn kernel stuck in throat.

Drink water:

First, try to drink a lot of water or other liquid and watch whether it helps in washing the popcorn kernel down your throat.

Drink Soda:

If it does not work, you may use the drinking soda. Sometimes the soda fizz may help in removing the pieces of popcorn kernel from your throat. If it is of no help, a frothy liquid such as Ginger Ale can useful in removing popcorn kernel stuck in throat and wash it to your stomach.

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Eating some other stuff:

According to experts, popcorn kernel can also go away by eating some other stuff where the popcorn kernel stuck in throat and move away to the stomach along with the food. This is a good option when liquid fails to clear the kernel. Such foods include cooked sticky rice, banana, or fluffy bread slices.

They usually give quick and good results. The popcorn kernels move down the throat to the stomach after getting stuck with these foods. Show in most cases having liquid followed by the above-mentioned foods will help you slide down the Popcorn kernels.

Cooked rice, soft piece of bread and similar foods do exactly that. Banana being a slippery food can aid in getting the kernel down the throat to the stomach.

Coughing and swallowing:

Another effective way of getting rid of popcorn kernels stuck in the throat is to cough and swallow alternatively. This generally helps in dislodging the kernel from the throat. Regularly rotating between coughing and swallowing can particularly aid in removing the popcorn kernel stuck in your throat.

Drinking olive oil/ egg yolks:

Experts also suggest drinking some amount of olive oil to extract the popcorn kernel stuck in throat.

Alternating coughing and swallowing will also help to dislodge the stuck popcorn shell/kernel from the throat. Olive oil makes your throat passage slippery thus helping in moving down the Popcorn kernel into your stomach. Having some egg yolks can produce the same effect and help in removing the popcorn kernel efficiently.

In case all the above-mentioned efforts fail to give the desired result to remove the popcorn kernel from throat then take expert advice immediately. Rush to the nearby Health Care Centers available.

Never neglect incidences of popcorn kernel stuck in throat as it can cause infections, difficulty breathing, and difficulty in swallowing, swelling, inflammation, and irritation. Never presume that the shell will come out naturally after some time and you do not need to do anything.

This may cause further problems in the future, and neglecting problems always worsens the condition. Rather take action now to save future problems, which can be more difficult to cure. Manage popcorn kernel shell stuck in your throat right away.

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What can others do to help you?

If you are not the one who is suffering from popcorn kernel shell track in the throat, but someone else, then how to help the victim. If you notice someone getting choked with the popcorn shells, immediately plans to him/ her.

There may be signs of wheezing or bluish lips with the person trying to place his/ her hands on the throat (signs of choking to death). Call for professional help immediately in case the choking sensation is severe.

Ask the individual whether you can help. It is essential that you are prior permission before interfering if the victim is not known to you (not someone from your family or friends or relatives) s you may be held liable for anything you may have done to help the victim.

Act only if the individual agrees for your help. Then proceed with the process of Heimlich manoeuvre, otherwise, call for medical help.

To perform Heimlich manoeuvre correctly, you have to place yourself behind the victim while wrapping your arms around the waist region. Then form a fist using the better arm (to have maximum control) and place the fist on the upper abdomen of the victim (i.e. below the rib cage and above the navel region).

Use the other hand to give a fast push in upward direction like a propelling motion towards the abdomen.  However, make sure you are not squeezing the rib cage at the same time. If the victim is a child, then make a move even more gently. Continue repeating the motion till the Popcorn kernel stuck in the throat gets expelled.

Overall Heimlich manoeuvre has been found to be beneficial is removing solid particles like popcorn kernel from the throat if done correctly. As mentioned above you need to have proper knowledge of applying it to help the individuals suffering from popcorn kernels stuck in throat.

Clasp your hand properly around the waist of the sufferer from the back. Your clasped fist should be around the middle part of the upper abdomen of the patient above the umbilicus. All this positioning you are doing while being behind the patient.

Now from your position, you have to comprehend your fist that is placed in the midsection of the patient’s body to press upward to provide a solid upward thrust. You have to be very careful while doing this process as too much pressure can damage the ribs of the patient.

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Repeat the process till the popcorn kernel stuck (or any other solid food particles) in the throat get expelled.  This manoeuvre helps the air inside your lungs to force out from there which helps in creating enough pressure to get the object expelled out from your throat. Often Heimlich manoeuvre creates vomiting like sensation that may also help.

Stop if the victim becomes unconscious and immediately rush to emergency Health Care Centers. Remember, slapping the victim on the back (a common misconception and we often do it) will not help, and it may aggravate the problem.

When all the above-mentioned steps fail to offer relief to the patient, rush to the nearby Health Care Centre try contacting an ENT surgeon, who will be able to look at the throat of the patient with proper instruments.

These instruments usually have a light fitted in that enables the physician to see inside your throat and the instrument is designed to remove any solid particles present inside the throat. So using the instruments physicians can remove the popcorn kernels stuck in throat.

There is another instrument called scope that can reach deep down your throat. Healthcare professionals may also use this instrument to selectively remove the Popcorn kernel stuck in throat.

Popcorn kernels getting stuck in the throat is a common incident. Therefore it is not advisable to motivate children to eat popcorns particularly when no adults are nearby. It is better to seek help of physician to avoid complication when children experience stuck popcorn kernels.

If you frequently experience incidences of popcorn kernel stuck in throat or other solid food particles getting stuck in your throat, then you may have some physiological problems, and it is better to get yourself checked by an ENT specialist.

So, never underestimate the incidences of popcorn kernel stuck in throat as complications can develop in no time. The more you ignore things can go more wrong and may even beyond control. This is particularly true for children, and there are past incidences of death due to neglect and delay.

  1. Unintentional asphyxia (choking, suffocation and strangulation) in children aged 0-14 years. Victoria: Victorian Injury Surveillance & Applied Research Unit (VISAR).
  2. Foreign bodies in the ear, nose, and throat. American family physician
  3. http://www.simple-remedies.com/home-remedies/popcorn-shell-in-throat-remedies.html

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