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possible inhaling of food into nasal cavity
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possible inhaling of food into nasal cavity

This occured a few minutes ago -- I was eating beef pasta when I swallowed the wrong way and ended up coughing a bit, which resulted in what felt like food 'going up my nose'.  I got scared and tried clearing my throat and nasal cavity (by coughing, snorting, etc) and a bit of food came out, but it still feels a little weird up there.  I'm not sure if this is from my paranoia imagining things, or if its just the feeling lingering, etc.

I'm a bit paranoid, as recently an acquaintance of my mother died from something like this -- apparently she had been enthusiastically wolfing down some noodles and inhaled the wrong way, which caused a bit of food to, supposedly, travel up to her brain and caused an infection.

Does this story have any truth to it?  If so, am I in danger?  I feel like I'm overly paranoid and imagining the feeling because of the scary story, yet I don't want to brush it off in the likelihood that I am in danger of an infection (anywhere).

Thank you.
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It is entirely possible that, with coughing, you may have inhaled some food up through the back of your nose, where the nose meets the throat.  In most instances, this food would have been cleared, either immediately by your coughing, snorting etc., or shortly thereafter.  In a rare instance some might enter one of your sinuses and result in a sinus infection.

There is no way that food, "inhaled" in this fashion, could go to your brain.
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
You have two tubes going from your mouth downward.  One is called the aesophagus which allows food to go from the mouth down into the stomach.  The other is the trachea that moves air from the nose and mouth into and out of the lungs.  When you chew and start to swallow, the aesophagus (normally flat) opens up to allow the food to desend into the stomach.  If you talk or gasp, the aesophagus closes and the trachea opens.  The food will go down "the wrong way" into the airway.  You cough and turn red or choke.  The food can clog the airway and you may stop breathing because air can no longer pass. This can be life-threatening.  The food, if small, may also be sucked into the airway and into the lungs (aspiration) causing problems that can, in extreme cases, lead to death.  The airway goes from the nose into the back of the throat and downward through the trachea into the lungs. In your case, the food chose to go back up the nose instead of down into the airway. A much better way for food to exit. This is harmless and you are in no danger.    There is no way that food can go from the mouth into the blood stream up to the brain to cause an infection. If you are still worried, see your health care provider for a checkup and maybe a chest xray.  good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
hey there, I had the same issue with food going up the back of my nose a couple of years ago. I was seeing an otolaryngologist for sinus issues/infections , with little results to solve the food issue. It turned that it was accually my thyroid. I have Hashimotos  thyroiditis , which caused my thyroid to swell and was inhibiting swallowing . I have been on synthoid for 2 years and the mild swelling has gone down. I no longer have food being shoved up into my siniuses . This is a fairly common issue , so says my endocronologist. You may want to ask your doc about your thyroid health.
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Avatar_n_tn
just last week I was dianosed with copd from an x-ray.

Maybe Im in denial, but is an x-ray necessary 100% proff?

I know I have a synus infection and a cough for a year now,

But fill good otherwise.

I allways inhale food when I eat and aspirate and have trouble swallowing sometimes, are these symtoms (symptoms) of copd, and is copd nessarily a death sentence?
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Avatar_n_tn
http://www.copd-international.com/   This is a good place to start looking for answers about copd. And no , it's not a death sentance. I have known several people, after changing diet,smoking habits(all kinds ),and  exercise, that live  long happy healthy lives. There is lots of support for people with  your condition , hang in there.
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A related discussion, Does foods will go into lungs? was started.
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