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Aspirating Acid
There is a lot of advice available on preventing reflux.  My question: If I do wake up unable to breathe because I have aspirated acid, what do I do?  This happens very rarely, but the last time it did, it was a long time before I could breathe.  (With great effort, I was sucking in a very small amount of air for many minutes.)  This was terrifying and exhausting.

- What do I do to recover quickly and start breathing when this happens?
- Is it possible to die from lack of oxygen during such an episode?  If so, how likely is that?


This discussion is related to Reflux Aspiration ? while sleeping last night .. VERY scary .
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I've heard that taking some vinegar helps with the acid but if you are having trouble breathing it's time for the doc!
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Thanks for answering.

I wonder what can be done when this happens.  The difficulty breathing caused by reflux is a pretty well-documented problem but, oddly, I have seen no advice on how to get through an episode.  There is not really time to get to a doctor or hospital, and I don't know if it is needed.  For example, is the worst case that a person will be miserable for several minutes; or will they pass out and then the passages will relax; or can this be fatal?  If passing out, brain damage, or death are possible, then maybe people at risk should have some kind of injection ready (like people with severa asthma do).
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1355118 tn?1298568479
Hi, welcome to the forum, Extraesophageal symptoms of acid reflux are the result of exposure of the upper aerodigestive tract to the gastric juice. This causes a variety of symptoms, including hoarseness, postnasal drip, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, indigestion, wheezing, chronic cough, globus pharynges, breathing disorders and chronic throat-clearing.

I suggest you to stop taking spicy food, tea, coffee, alcohol which will exaggerate the condition. Proton pump inhibitors with antacids against prescription will help to relieve symptoms. Such episodes will rarely be fatal except when there is aspiration and respiratory obstruction. I suggest you to consult a physician. Take care and regards.

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This happened to me last night and I was terrified! I have spent  most of the day online, trying to find out if it can be fatal ( it sure feels like it).I have had no success. Your's is the first post  I've found asking this question.. Alas, where is the answer? This is not about pain. it's about not being able to draw breath. It's so immediate and horrific.( I have no symptoms of reflux in the daytime, only durring sleep with the consequence of aspiration and airway shutdown.) I am  now afraid to go to sleep. Any answer as to what to do durring an attack and can it be fatal?
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This happened to me last night and I was terrified! I have spent  most of the day online, trying to find out if it can be fatal ( it sure feels like it).I have had no success. Your's is the first post  I've found asking this question.. Alas, where is the answer? This is not about pain. it's about not being able to draw breath. It's so immediate and horrific.( I have no symptoms of reflux in the daytime, only durring sleep with the consequence of aspiration and airway shutdown.) I am  now afraid to go to sleep. Any answer as to what to do durring an attack and can it be fatal?
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wondering if you have found anything out in regards to your episode. i too am scared to go to bed tonight. i had acid reflux last night which was aspirated into my lungs from my c pap. came out of bed faster than if my house was on fire. could not breath. gasping for breath. wondering if an inhailer would have helped draw in some much needed air. scary. very scary. almost  as if i was drowning. i had asthma as a kid. im 47 now. been told i had an asthma attack but this was no asthma attack! awaiting x rays to see if i may have gotten pneumonia from this. any help out there will be very welcomed.
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Did you ever find out how to solve this issue.  I could have written your exact comment about myself.
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I agree this is terrifying and feels like death is moments away.The best remedy for me has been to get a drink of water into myself quickly. The drink breaks the cycle of gasps and it seems to stop the symptoms immediately for me, I literally race to the bathroom to get a sip from the faucet. Maybe keep a glass of water by the bed. It happens so rarely for me that I do not ever expect it. Not to mention it rips you from a deep sleep and it takes a few moments to realize your suffocating!
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I had this happen to me last night. In between trying to gasp for oxygen, I googled how to get fluid out of the lungs. It said
"Take in a deep breath through your nose. To ensure a deep breath, count to four as you inhale. Feel your diaphragm rise up and your stomach suck in as you breathe in. Hold the breath for a count of six and push the air out of your lungs through your mouth as you count to eight."
After just a couple cycles of in air and out air, the fluid came up in sputum and I had full relief. This is only the second time this has happened to me but this was by far the worst. I hope this helps. Gasping for air can push the fluid further into your lungs and make it harder to get out. Concentrate on this breathing method.
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