Most common choking hazards, signs and prevention in adults

A lot of people have an assumption that choking is for toddlers. That’s why they are more cautious with the food they feed the kids but end up forgetting even adults can still choke. But the truth, even adults who have had solid foods for decades can still choke. Although there are more common choking hazards, you can really chock on anything. Choking can lead to death if first aid is not administered to the affected person on time. Here, you will learn the causes, signs, choking hazards to avoid and how to prevent yourself. However health you are, you can still get the risk of being choked. So, read on and be informed.

Causes of choking in adults

In most cases, it’s not necessarily what you eat but how you eat your food although there are more hazardous foods. There are certain eating habits such as talking while eating that can increase your chances of choking. Hence, as you check your food choices remember to pay attention to your eating habits as well. Another cause of choking in adults is the portion of food you put in your mouth at a go. While it’s tempting to indulge on large bites of your favourite meal, that can lead to choking. It’s therefore important to only take what you can chew without a struggle. So, next time you are feeling hungry and you are served with sandwiches, take your time to chew the food thoroughly.

In addition to that, below are other habits that can put you at risk of choking.

  • Drinking alcohol before and during meals
  • Playing or running with food in the mouth
  • Eating too fast
  • Laughing while eating
  • Swallowing large portions of poorly swallowed food

Signs of a choking person

Choking is a medical emergency and can be life-threatening. Adults majorly chock on food, drinks or breathing in fumes but toddlers can also chock from swallowing small pieces of foreign objects like toys. Choking at some point in life may not pose any danger although it should be avoided at all costs.

A choking person may cough continuously expelling the food or liquid that was blocking the airway. However, it the food or drink gets stuck in the throat, it cuts off the air supply. Such a person may show an inability to talk, cough, breath or gaggle. The person’s face, lips and nails may turn blue due to lack of oxygen. In extreme cases, a person may pass out.

Choking prevention

The food we all must eat to live is the main culprit to choking. How we eat our food matters a lot. Avoid eating handfuls. When you grab food and shovel it in the mouth, it gets closer to your windpipe and increases your risk of choking.

If you are prone to choking, here are foods to avoid or take extra caution when consuming them.


One of the main reasons why adults choke is because of swallowing meat without thoroughly chewing it. Many people do not know that meat should be chewed longer than other foods. So, they tend to swallow a piece of meat together with other foods. To avoid such problems, it’s advisable you cut the meat into smaller pieces or shred it and still chew it thoroughly before swallowing. People who wear dentures are also prone to choking with meat since they are not always able to chew meat properly. A good alternative for such people should be fish or minced meat because they are softer and easier to chew. People who are prone to choking should avoid eating hotdogs because they are a choking hazard. If craving won’t let you make sure you peel and chop it before eating them.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is a choking hazard to healthy young adults but it’s more severe to older people because they produce less saliva due to their advanced age or the medication they could be taking. To avoid choking from peanut butter, do not consume it in a large spoonful at once. Instead, spread a thin layer on toasted bread or cracker. This will ensure you aren’t tempted to swallow it before chewing it. This greatly reduces the risk of the butter blocking the airway.

Vegetable and fruit chunks

Hard fruits such as apples and pineapples are great choking hazards. Other fruits such as berries, bananas and melons can also lead too choking if swallowed in large bits. Therefore, always ensure you cut your fruits into small portions and chew well before swallowing. It will greatly reduce the risk of choking. Vegetables such as carrots and celery can also pose the risk of choking. Make them easier to chew by mashing or blending them.

Soft baked products

Foods such as soft slices of bread, cakes and cookies can increase the risk of choking to adults especially the elderly. The risk is even higher if the person is consuming the food with water. That’s because when baked food mixes with water they tend to increase in size and this can block the airway. When cookies and cakes are consumed with milk, they can also pose the danger of choking. People who are more likely to choke maybe because of illness should consider toasted bread in place of untoasted one which is softer. The softer the bread is, the riskier it is to choke.


Do you want to protect yourself from choking? Always ensure chewing comes before swallowing. Hopefully, the information above will help you protect yourself and your loved ones from choking. If you are prone to choking, then be extra careful with what you are eating and make sure you chew the foods properly before swallowing it. Never be in a hurry to finish that plate of food. If time is not on your side, you would rather pack and eat it later. You are dear to many. Protect yourself. If you are taking care of an elderly person, it’s also important to know the food to avoid to reduce their risk of choking while under your care.

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