There are many unpleasant, annoying and even scary situations that can sometimes get in the way of an otherwise ideal dinner party: a fight between a couple, an offensive joke, someone getting started on a sensitive political subject, someone choking, granny losing her dentures in the soup, etc. But the moment we all fear is when we have served a fish dish, and people start taking bets on who is going to end up with the only fish bone on the entire table. And of course, it’s you (who else?!) and you don’t know how to react. Here are a few solutions to be aware of!
This is surely your first instinct when this happens you, and you should listen to it! Coughing can often solve the problem. This natural process is in fact there to dislodge anything that gets where it shouldn’t (like when you swallow and something goes down the wrong way).
2) Olive oil
If coughing doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to get out the big guns! Olive oil is one of them, as it helps lubricate the area to help dislodge the bone or object, and make it slip out. This is more effective than a simple glass of water, which will run directly down your throat, while the oil will take longer to go down and thus leave a coating of oil.
3) The sweet option: a marshmallow
A large marshmallow will carry everything along with it, and is thus ultra-effective. This is why many people are fans of this method. You need to chew it a little first to make it more soft and sticky (and to make sure you don’t choke on it, something which is far more serious than a bone trying to dislodge itself), and then quickly swallow.
This isn’t necessarily the most effective technique, but many people swear by it, and it is therefore worth a mention. You need to dilute the vinegar and swallow it. The idea is that fish bones are fragile, and that the acidity of the vinegar will make them break down more easily during the digestion process, allowing the body to dissolve them more easily. It is therefore a longer and less pleasant method than the others. Bottoms up!
5) A piece of bread
This is similar to the marshmallow method. You need to soak a piece of dry bread in hot water or milk. Make a ball that is neither too big nor too small from the bread and swallow it. The hardness of the bread along with the soft stickiness added by the liquid will help remove the fish bone.
6) And if nothing works?
Not only are you unlucky enough to have swallowed a fish bone, but what’s more, nothing seems to work! In this case, seek the help of a doctor who should be able to remove it without causing you pain. In very rare extreme cases, a small operation may be necessary. Rest assured, the chances of your life being endangered by a fish bone are very slim.
If you are bleeding a lot (more than a drop or two), if you have a great deal of pain or if your airways seem obstructed or injured, it goes without saying that you should consult a doctor immediately.