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First Aid & Emergencies

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Swallowed or Inhaled Objects - Home Treatment

The following home treatment may help relieve discomfort after you swallow an object into your digestive tract.

  • Do not cause (induce) vomiting unless your doctor or the poison control center specifically instructs you to do so. Vomiting could cause you to inhale (aspirate) the object into your windpipe or lungs.
  • Drink liquids. If swallowing liquids is easy, try eating soft bread or a banana. If eating soft bread or a banana is easy, try adding other foods. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may help move the swallowed object through the digestive tract.
    • Continue to drink more liquids until the object has passed in your stool. Extra fluid will help the object move through the digestive tract. The object should pass within 7 days.
    • Watch your stools to see if the object has passed. Do not use a laxative unless your doctor tells you to.

Do not use syrup of ipecac. It is no longer used to treat poisonings. If you have syrup of ipecac in your home, call your pharmacist for instructions on how to dispose of it and throw away the container. Do not store anything else in the container.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • New symptoms develop, such as:
    • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing.
    • Pain in the throat, chest, or belly.
    • Vomiting, especially vomit that contains blood.
    • Blood in the stool, such as red, black, or tarry stools.
  • The swallowed object does not pass in the stool in 7 days.
  • Your symptoms become more severe or more frequent.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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