Strategies you can use to help manage swallowing problems

Even if you are not experiencing swallowing problems, you should be aware that there are a number of strategies that can be used to protect the lungs. This knowledge could help you if you do encounter swallowing problems (for example, if you have a flare up). These strategies include:

  • Try not to eat or drink when you are breathless.
  • Always sit upright in a supported chair when you are eating and drinking.
  • Eat slowly and take small mouthfuls.
  • Select foods that are soft and easy to chew or add sauce or gravy to moisten foods.
  • If worn at home, oxygen prongs should not be removed during meals.
  • Have smaller, more frequent meals and take a break during your meal if you become too short of breath.
  • Try to breathe out immediately after you swallow to help clear any food or fluid left in your throat.
  • Alternate between sips of fluids and solids.
  • Try swallowing twice per mouthful.
  • Try to minimise talking during mealtimes to reduce the exertion on your breathing.
  • Remain upright for 30 minutes after your meal.
  • If you experience reflux or heartburn, discuss anti-reflux medication with your GP.