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Possible inhalation of a kernel of corn

Similar to another question posted here, I think I accidentally inhaled a kernel of corn this evening , although I am not sure. My gag reflex was not triggered, but the kernel entered my throat rapidly as I was inhaling through my mouth; I don't recall swallowing as a reflex, either. I don't think I am having symptoms, although I feel a slight irritation/lump in my throat as I attempted to "cough it out" forcefully several times.

Waht symptoms should I expect in the event that the kernel of corn did indeed enter my airway, instead of going down my esophagus? Can the lungs eventually eject a food particle as dense as a kernel of corn with the skin intact? I has a bout of strep throat last week (secondary to being intubated for a laparoscopic procedure). I am otherwise very healthy.


This discussion is related to Possible Food Aspiration..
8 Responses
Avatar universal
If you inhaled the corn I don't think you would be wondering if you did. Something that large would cause quite a bit of choking.

If you chocked just once you probably cleared it. The weight of the food would generally fall to the back where if can fall all on it's own with out swallowing and not in to your breathing tube.

In any event, your lungs do clean them selves out. Something this large would eventually break down and be carried out. But you would would seriously feel it if you did inhale it. I have inhaled small bits of food. Wow, do I feel it and have always been able to chock it out. No mistake.

But I am not a doctor, so this is only my opinion.
Avatar universal
I inhaled crusted salmon with pinenuts and sundried tomatoes on Jan 3rd and since I am uninsured I have had to live with this. I have constant shortness of breath, sweating, and light pains throughout my throat and chest. I just got a strept infection 2 weeks ago which I will have to go back to the primary care doctor for. I have trouble sleeping 4-5 nights a week and when I do sleep better it is because I am making up for what I lost. I am finally going to hopefully be insured by April 1st and am seeing a throat,nose, and ear doctor. I hope it can be easily removed wherever in my system it went as I know it has to be a pinenut salmon would be long ago rotted away I imagine. I hope you were taken care of and the corn kernal is gone.
Avatar universal
I also had corn enter my airway and did not cough it up as I usually do with other things.  I have a problem of breathing in food or liquid, but it has turned to mucus slipping in in my sleep and this time corn slipping in as I was swallowing.  I could feel how low it slipped.  I tried to force a cough but this did not work.  Two days later I had a fever and tight chest.  I knew it was related so I took puffers.  This freed mucus that had built up but did not free the corn.  It has been two weeks and it has not cleared.  I use puffers every 3 hours and a symbacourt inhaler twice a day.  When this has happened with rice in the past I think the macrophages or microphages take care of it and it eventually gets absorbed by my lung tissue.  The corn is not as easy for my system to break down and I am awake coughing every night. Is there a medical procedure that can help clear this from my lungs?
Avatar universal
Excerpt from Weewow: "Similar to another question posted here, I think I accidentally inhaled a kernel of corn this evening , although I am not sure. My gag reflex was not triggered, but the kernel entered my throat rapidly as I was inhaling through my mouth..."
***This person is most likely referring to an UNPOPPED kernel--it happened to me last night!  The weight of the kernel enabled it to bypass the body's security measures--in just the right confluence of conditions: inhaling while taking in a mouthful of popcorn.  Now I am worried that the hard kernel is in my lungs and because of the difficulty of its composition, that it will not break down but will fester & I will develop a lung infection or other adverse consequences. Please don't reply to this crystalfresh, I just wanted to clarify it for you and resubmit this legitimate question to this post.  Any one else who may have helpful information, I welcome your comments. Thank you all for your posts, this has not happened to me before and this is reassuring to find.
Avatar universal
I was looking this up cause I DID inhale a piece of corn last night. I def felt it but no, it didn't choke me. I just know it was there. I've been doing quite a bit of coughing since. Corn is def small enough to pop into your windpipe without choking you. I'm glad to know my body will eventually get rid of it.
Avatar universal
I believe I may have inhaled popcorn tonight. I have read a story where a person died because of this. Is that possible? I coughed for a minute, but I had no choking.
Avatar universal
ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?
Avatar universal
Hi there, so, about a year ago, i was eating a taco with corn salsa on it and some food went down the wrong pipe. I coughed for so long but also felt a piece of whatever I choked on go down the wrong pipe. It felt like it was in my bronchial area or at the entrance of that.
All week, I could breathe fine but felt a constant tickle and it was SO annoying.  It really got me down- I was so worried.. So I went to the emergency room doctor one night and she basically was like “well, there’s nothing there bec you’re oxegyn levels are great”.
So I felt happier and thought- ya know- maybe the tickle is just from having that brief choking incident.  So I went on with my life.
Two days later, I woke up and was uncontrollably coughing to the point where my hands were on my knees. Sure enough a fully intact corn kernel flew out and hit the ground. It was UNBELIEVABLE. HA!  I was jumping with JOY and crying at the same time!
So, while you may have passed it, sometimes things like this do get lodged in places we can’t know until we know.  Please go to an ENT (a doctor that can actually help) and everything will be okay.
If you can’t breathe or are having trouble breathing, get yourself to an ER.
I know it’s expensive but that’s life.  Until then, be well and I hope all has resolved.
Remember to eat your food slowly and happily!
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