Yes or no? If a person is coughing, that means they are NOT choking.

It bugs me when someone is coughing (because they have food stuck in their throat) and the first thing anyone thinks to do is slap them on the back. I assume that was the advice 50 or 60 years ago and is now just an old wives tale but any time someones done that to me, after I get it cleared out my response is ‘could you not do that’. I’m not sure what they think is going to happen, but hitting someone on the back, IMO, isn’t going to help anything. It might burp a baby, but I don’t think it’s going to dislodge food in a full grown adult.

Getting back to the OP, I’ve always assumed if you’re breathing in anyway (coughing, talking), you’re not choking. Or, put another way, if you have food stuck in your throat, as opposed to your trachea, you’re not choking.
I started a thread about this a while back asking what it’s called when food is stuck in your throat and got mixed results, including choking.

On preview, I know the Mrs Doubtfire scene. I had an employee choke like that once. It was hard to switch back and forth between legitimate fear and doing a Nelson Haa-Haa since we were laughing about something stupid and then she tossed a giant malted milk ball right into her throat. That was exactly it. No coughing, no gasping for air, just a few seconds of panicked face contortions and some unsettling eye contact until she popped it back out.

Ding Ding Ding. We have a winner.
Idle Thoughts you may be arguing over too rigid of a definition of choking.
Usually, in an adult, if they can cough forcefully, they can clear the obstruction. If they are coughing weakly or appear to be choking it is time to get help. If they stop breathing while this is happening then it is time to do the Heimlich.
Children, with their propensity to swallow all kinds of things, will more frequently partially obstruct their airway. This is an emergency, call 911.

Joey P I didn’t see the thread you mention so I may be repeating the responses to that thread.

In general your “throat” is just the back of your mouth. It divides into two branches, the trachea for breathing, and the esophagus for eating and drinking. You can get things stuck in your esophagus. If completely blocked the “universal sign” is not being able to swallow your saliva. You will be spitting into a cup within minutes. If partially blocked you will feel a powerful urge to drink fluids until it feels clear. You can also irritate (scratch) you esophagus which feels like a partial obstruction. You will feel the urge to drink to try and clear it, but it won’t improve.

A guy having a coughing fit because he’s trying desperately to get a stuck piece of food out of his throat is choking.

Semantics be damned.

With the way Pierce Brosnan started obnoxiously eating that piece of shrimp, he was asking for it. Watch the scene again, its ridiculous.

In all seriousness though, if you start to choke and can remember not to panic it increases your chance of surviving it if you are alone for many reasons. Also if alone, you can do a heimlich on yourself with a full can or bottle of pop/soda. Put it against the area below breastbone and then push inward and upward. You can also use a sturdy chair back. When it comes to coughing and choking. USUALLY if you can cough, air is passing through. The person may or may not be fighting something getting lodged but typically they are not actually choking by the definition of the word, if they can cough. Best thing for them is to pause and let out a huge cough, then breathe in the next breathe through the nose slowly and repeat.

This is what I always thought, too. To be honest, I’m not sure about the coughing, but I’m a substitute teacher. I’ve had situations a few times where I wasn’t sure if a kid was choking so I always make them say, "hello Mrs. Patx2. I was always relived when they could say it.

My point in the argument was “a person, choking by any degree (even if it’s just a partial block of the airway), can cough”. So what it really comes down to, I guess, is how “choking” is defined. If one defines it meaning “all air/passage to the lungs is blocked off entirely”, then I can concede a choking person cannot cough.
I was describing “a person with any food stuck in their throat just as long as it impedes breathing period, regardless of if it fully cuts off their oxygen” as someone “choking”, though…but that may be incorrect.

In any case, thanks for the answers. I do know that a person with a fully blocked airway will not be able to make any sound at all. What this then becomes is just what one considers “choking”, really.

I will probably continue to think that a person who is eating who suddenly started coughing could very well be choking, just out of habit and the tendency to be easily alarmed/thinking the worst. : p

A couple of years ago I was choking on some food. I was definitely coughing as part of my body’s effort to dislodge the food. After a few seconds, I fainted in the street. Somehow, the food particle got dislodged in that process and I came to after a few seconds.

So, I, at least, might be choking if I’m coughing.

Sometimes, the impact can act as an ersatz Heimlich maneuver. When you lose consciousness, the throat muscles can relax a bit and loosen the hold on the chunk of food.

When I get something stuck in my throat, I will often generate quite a bit of saliva, much the same way some people get the “mouth sweats” as right before throwing up. As I’ve learned to deal with this, I can control that. Now I can actually stay calm, I can still talk and breath just fine, I know that I’m not choking and I can excuse myself to a bathroom and deal with it.
Swallowing anything just results in it piling up behind whatever is stuck. That’s really painful as my throat attempts to push liquid against a blockage. IME, the only way to clear it is to throw up. I’ve gotten pretty good and making myself throw up ‘just a little’…just enough to pop whatever is stuck back out. And, as gross as it sounds, I can go right back to eating, like nothing happened.
Every once in a while, jumping/bouncing up and down a few times will get the food/pills to move the rest of the way.

He was having an allergic reaction to cayenne pepper that Mrs Doubtfire put on his dinner before it came out to the table. When ordering, he specifically said he was allergic to it. He choking because his throat was closing.

I’m not sure how old you are but you could be experiencing presbyesophagus.

CPR guidelines say that if they are coughing, they are breathing. do not touch them or interfere unless they cannot breathe, at which time they certainly will NOT be coughing

37, but it’s been going on, and getting progressively worse since I was a teenager.

A few years back I mentioned it to my ENT, long story short, he brushed it off as nothing. I found myself a GI doc who did an endoscopy with dilation (stick a balloon in and inflate it). When they woke me up, they said my esophagus was so narrow they couldn’t even get the scope in. I had to come back a few weeks later after they could borrow a pediatric scope from Children’s Hospital. Woke up from that one and they said everything looked fine, but they could only dilate it halfway. Come back a few weeks after that for a 3rd endo/dilation. Doc is happy, everything looks good, he’d like me to come back one more time, but I took a pass.

As someone else I know that had something similar said, I went from not being able to swallow Tylenol to being able to swallow a kielbasa.

I was officially diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis. So, my esophagus was inflammed and full of white blood cells. They’ve been seeing a lot of it lately, they don’t know exactly why yet, they’re thinking it could be food (or other) allergies causing it. So now I’m doing allergy shots. It hasn’t returned to the previous levels, but my heartburn hasn’t gotten any better. I was sort of hoping it would go away with all of this too.