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This is JUST what I've been looking for - a really good, clear description of how swallowing works. There is an animated diagram halfway down the page which is brilliant.

https://www.physio-pedia.com/Feeding_and_the_Swallow_Mechanism

Once you've watched that, it is easy to see how many factors can go just slightly wrong and mess up the whole process.

So, Berta, thinking about your mother:

has she already suffered some aspiration problems and now has an irritation or an infection in her lung?

is she choking or spluttering when she tries to eat or drink?

I'm just wondering what it is exactly that you're trying to relieve.

If it's the second, have you already been advised to modify her diet and thicken her drinks? This is about prevention, rather than curing symptoms, but it might be worth doing anyway.

Please let us know what has happened so far and what your mother's medical and care professionals are suggesting, if you'd like to.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Also keep the head of his bed elevated at least 30-40 degrees to prevent further aspiration.

Please take him to his PCP & get an order for a swallowing study and an evaluation from a Speech Therapist to assess his needs.

Agree that you don’t want to suppress a cough as this is the body’s means to clear the airway.

Aspiration on can lead to pneumonia. Please have him evaluated ASAP.
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Reply to Shane1124
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Berta, my Dad had a cough related to food/liquids going into his lungs. As mentioned prior, one has to cough to bring up what is in the lungs. There is some type of physical therapy that can be done, but it depends on what hospital tests show.

I see from your profile that your Mom is 90. My Dad was 95, and usually what happens is that the tube going from the throat down to the stomach starts to narrow.

The aspiration caught us all by surprised, we thought Dad was just doing his usual coughing over the years when he ate too fast.... [sigh].
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Reply to freqflyer
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Why do you want to depress the natural way to expell aspirated food or liquid? Be grateful that a cough is still present because then you will see a quicker downward spiral. Ask for a speach eval first
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Reply to MACinCT
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Swallow evaluation needs to be done. This can easily lead to aspiration pneumonia in an elder. Pneumonia, of any type, used to be called "The old person's friend" because it ushered them to heaven quick.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Is this related to difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or is this coughing after the meal is finished ?Have you had her evaluated by a doctor?
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Reply to cwillie
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