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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes severe cough after accidental aspiration of food into the lungs?

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Dr. Shoaib Khan

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 9410 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 20 Oct 2015 in Lung and Chest disorders
Question: I was trying to eat while on a conf call and accidentally ate too fast a hard boiled egg and parts of it seemed to go down the wrong pipe and I was coughing incessantly - with nothing really coming up.

Now, it's 12 hours later, and I don't know if I'm paranoid, but I feel like I have all of a sudden after that, all day, a bad bad cold. Just feel crappy - felt FINE before the egg episode.

What is going on? Do I need to see a dr.? If so, a pulmonary MD?
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Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
As you have been feeling poor since the incident: doctors visit

Detailed Answer:
Hello ma'am and welcome.

Thank you for writing to us.

I have gone through your query with diligence and would like you to know that I am here to help. In majority of cases, aspiration like yours does take place from time to time in individuals and usually due to the strong immune system or health of individuals there is nothing to worry about.

But in a few isolated cases of individuals with a good immune system as well as those who have conditions that result in repeated aspiration, the resulting condition is called aspiration pneumonia. This is a serious complication and undoubtedly requires medical attention.

In my opinion, I would recommend a doctors visit especially as you have been feeling awful since the aspiration incident. Just to make sure this is nothing serious or can be treated if the need arises.

I hope you find my response helpful. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I am always here to help.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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