Pharyngeal Abrasion

You (or your child) has an abrasion (scratch) of the back of the throat (pharynx). This can be caused by swallowing a sharp piece of food such as a bone, snack chip, or bread crust, or other sharp or abrasive object.

For a day or so, it may continue to feel like something is stuck in the throat. It may also hurt to swallow. Symptoms should start to get better as the abrasion heals.

A small object that is stuck in the throat, such as a fish bone or food particle, may be hard to see on tests. Be sure to get medical attention if symptoms get worse or if new symptoms appear such as choking, coughing, or trouble swallowing.

Home care

  • If swallowing is painful, have liquids and soft foods until it gets better. 

  • Gargling with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of table salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water) may help soothe a sore throat. Spit out the solution. Don't swallow it. Make sure that children don't swallow the solution.

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines such as acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen can help ease throat pain. Call your healthcare provider before taking these OTC medicines, especially when giving them to children for the first time.

  • Sucking on cough drops or hard candies may also help soothe the throat. Don't give these to children under 4 years old. 

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider if any of the following occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher , or as directed by the healthcare provider

  • Throat pain that worsens or doesn't get better

  • Inability to open the mouth wide due to pain

  • Inability to eat or drink, or refusal to eat or drink

  • Increased pain with neck movement

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

Call 911

Call 911 or get immediate medical care if any of the following occur:

  • Trouble breathing, noisy breathing, or a muffled voice

  • Drooling

  • Trouble swallowing, choking, or other symptoms that may indicate worsening welling in the throat

  • Bloody bowel movements or vomiting blood

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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