First Aid/Coughing & pain


QUESTION: Hi, Julie,

I came down with a nasty case of bronchitis a couple of weeks ago. Feeling better overall, but still coughing and bringing up phlegm (just whitish yellow, I think). Then yesterday a bit of cracker went down the wrong pipe and I coughed pretty hard. It felt like something got stuck in my right lung. Now I have pain just under my rib cage and back, especially when coughing. Is this something I should have checked out? I'm a healthy female non-smoker in my 40s. Your thoughts are welcome. Thanks so much!

ANSWER: Hello,

It is always a good idea to get things checked out if you have any question of what could be going on. It is always possible that you could have aspirated (inhaled) part of the cracker. That said the cough reflex often does a good job of preventing this in most healthy people. With your recent history of bronchitis you can't be too careful. In the end it is probably a good idea to see a doctor to see if anything was caused by the cracker issue.

I hope this helps, please let me know if I can answer any more questions or if you would like more explanation.


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QUESTION: Thanks! Do you think I could wait until Monday and call the doc's office?  Or would it be worth visiting an after hours clinic? Appreciate your help.

Any type of chest pain should be investigated sooner rather than later so an after hours clinic would be a good idea, or an emergency room if it increases or any other symptoms develop. Make sure your doctors office is informed of any significant findings though.  

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I can answer questions about basic and advanced first aid as well as pre-hospital care. Please note that I do not monitor this 24 hours a day. If it is an emergency call 911 (or the local emergency number for your area).


I have experience volunteering as a medical first responder and working as a summer camp Health & Wellness Director. With both I have a variety of experience dealing with various trauma and medical emergencies. As a paramedic student I am gaining further knowledge and experience in the area.

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I am a medical first responder (rough equivalent of EMT_B in the US) and a First Year Paramedic Student

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