3 Tips To Handle Aspiration After A Stroke

People who regularly experience problems swallowing food may be experiencing dysphagia. This problem occurs frequently in individuals who are recovering from a stroke and can lead to choking or gagging called aspiration.  When food enters your mouth it needs to make its way to your throat area. Stroke patients experience motor difficulties that cause the food and any other foreign substance to flow into your airways. If you allow your problems with aspiration to continue this can result in a serious lung infection. Therefore, there are a few tips you should use in order to reduce your risks of aspiration. 

Avoid Thin Liquids

A stroke makes it difficult for people to properly swallow thin liquids. The fluid moves much faster from your mouth to your throat than other liquids. This makes it difficult for the voicebox to react fast enough in order to protect your airway.  Fortunately, there are a variety of thicker fluids you can choose to drink, including

  • Nectar thickened- are drinks that are the same consistency of milkshakes.
  • Honey thickened- drinks flow slowly in your mouth and are as thick as honey.
  • Pudding thickened- are drinks that can be scooped and consumed with a spoon.

Coffee and tea are popular morning drinks, but they are extremely thin and should be avoided during your recovery process.

Tilt Head Sideways  

It is difficult to find effective ways in which to protect your airways after you have suffered a stroke. As a result, you can try tilting your head toward the weaker side of your mouth as you drink. This motion will help to close off the non-operating muscles on the weak side in order to open up the working muscles on the other side. Essentially, this will allow you to move fluids from your mouth to your throat without suffering aspiration.

Use Eating Aids

The stroke recovery process might involve making a number of modifications to your diet. You might consider following a mechanical diet, which involves only eating chopped up food and smaller bites. There are several eating aids that are designed to make swallowing easier:

  • Cups with attached straws- are preferred because the straw does not move around. You can sip and swallow various liquids while reducing the possibility of choking.
  • Glossectomy spoon- delivers small amounts of food directly into the back of your mouth. This device reduces the amount of effort to chew so you can focus on swallowing.

Avoiding food is not the proper solution to dealing with aspiration symptoms. Instead, use the help of these tips to ensure that every bite goes down without a hitch. For more information on drinking and eating aids, contact a company like YOUCAN TOOCAN, Inc.