When to see a doctor
Choking occurs when “the foreign object passes down the back of the throat into the airway instead of the oesophagus,” said Dr Fung. “If it is large enough to block the airway, the person will be unable to breathe or speak.”
When this happens, no oxygen can enter the lungs. The brain is the first organ to be affected and begins to die within four to six minutes. Irreversible brain death can occur in as little as 10 minutes.
Urgent cases also include those with signs such as vomiting blood, chest pain, abdominal pain or distension, and blood in the stools, said Dr Fung. "Medical attention should definitely be sought if the swallowed object was sharp and pointy as it could tear a hole in the digestive tract,” he said.
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