Coughing / Choking / movement of Air?

Has anyone got any information about the effecs of movement of air affecting coughing or choking

(along with Ataxia)

by movement of air in the context of air conditioning / breeze from objects (people) moving.

I noticed this affecting many with disabilities and wondered how this is dealt with in people with ataxia.

As the related area on the body is very sensible, and - at least in my case - easily getting problems, i suppose that air movements are quite dangerous in Ataxia when people are effected by coughing/COPD/Asthma . I have some choking from eating. Here i should take more warm fluids/water etc. together with the food, and smaller portions of food, not talking during the meals etc. Did not watch a negative effect from wind etc . In general i have my neck covered by warm clothes, so that the wind - e.g. from the open window in a taxi cannot do harm on me. That s necessary. since years. I have been watching a general vulnerability of the mouth-esophagus region, these have to be cared for everyday by drinking warm drinks: Tea, soup. Also i take 0,9 % NaCl for the nose, the eyes; an extra emulsion for the ears and a spray for the mouth (this is perhaps only because of my "after stem cell transplantation" illness and because of my allergies and lung disease which i have had since my childhood..


Hi Alan-I try to eat alone so I won’t be tempted to talk…sounds a little extreme, but I know that noone can ask me questions and feeling compelled to answer.

Not talking while eating, “over-chewing”, and drinking plenty of water during a meal seem to help a bunch.

Hi Alan

My doctor asks or is watching because I was told and saw in my father that our saliva gets thicker. I do choke on whatever. But I do notice when it's hot out. My saliva is thicker.


I use a mobility scooter to walk my dog everyday and have had difficulty getting my breath when a really strong gust of wind kind of hit me in the face as travelled down farm track with no buildings just open fields so wind was full force. I would guess its cos of difficulty co-ordinating muscles and they can't react quickly enough when you suddenly take in unexpected air.

It will be the same with food that the inability to co-ordinate muscles well is causing throat muscles to open and close at wrong time sometimes causing food to get into lungs or swallowing saliva to make you cough etc.

I get more difficulties in the winter too when its really freezing weather, my muscles feel very tight and I find I'm choking on food more often, even with drinking tea its kind of come straight back up again or choking fits its gone the wrong way. I have switched to using a straw when that happens and tend to live on Ensure and cup-a-soups for a few days. sitting under shower with warm water on throat sometimes helps to relax muscles or hot water bottle against upper chest (over clothes be careful not to burn neck).

If you can afford your heating on all time to stop muscles getting so cold, it may help reduce symptoms when its due to cold or tight muscles, and just take your time with eating.

in my impression - in my case - i think that it is not (only) the incoordination of muscles which does some dangerous independent movements/swallowing (independent from my will), but that this is sort of witched! i am very unhappy asking me why my body acts in such a way,especially also with money and precious things, often disappearing within one moment. Actually i try to find out how to overwind it. My last success has been Carbamazepine, calming down the unvoluntary movements for the last few weeks. Ths seems to be similar with the legs, but in this case you can finally sit down. But in eating, drinking, swallowing which is really necessary this becomes dangerous. I think that nobody would safe me in the moment when i wouldn not be able to cope with swallowing problems. On the other side, it could be that i myself contribute to some problems. So i have found out that itis more dangerous to lie in bed after having drunken or eaten. When i have been swallowing involuntary in the bed, it was disturbing for me when there was no fluid involved, but dangerous and intimitating when the swallowing was "wet". I suppose that more order in my life would help to improve my symptoms, not so bad as yours, but astonishingly this seems to be difficult for me to organise. Some self-aggression element involved? Don`t know.

i have had quite long periods only with drinking, having gotten accoustumed to that by parenteral nutrition (by infusions) in the hospital during my stays after stem cell transplantation. By infusion you should not get nourishment for a too long time, this is dangerous..

Hi Alan,

Yes, I've noticed I cough/choke with movement of air. Plus if I'm walking with my cane and a gust of wind comes up, I feel very unsteady, as if I could fall over or fly away...ha! I agree with others, it's probably because our muscles are slower to react. I also think my throat muscles spasm. I started to choke several years ago in a restaurant, when I tried to swallow a large piece of meat. Fortunately, a police officer sitting at another table did the hiemlich manuver on me and the meat popped out in my hand! I was VERY THANKFUL!!! Anyway, I have since slowed down when I eat, take small bites and chew really well now. I also don't talk while eating and take sips of water between bites. A speech therapist told me to drop my head/chin to my upper chest when drinking liquids, which helps! I seem to have a coughing fit every night after dinner...what's up with that? I have no idea, as although I've had ataxia for about 8 years, some things are still a mystery! All I can think of is my throat muscles must spasm and cause me to cough...

WOW! I never thought of that. Not only do I trip over a blade of grass (as my husband says), but I also choke on nothing!! Never made the connection until now. Thanks!!


yes choke on nothing happens to me when on the phone!! must be intake of air.


Dear Rose, thank you for your description of precautions for eating.


You're welcome Akita...better safe than sorry...ha! ;o)

You're so welcome Akita...,better safe than sorry! ;o)

.. Therefore it`s such important to receive input from the experiences of others concerned by a probable-also-in-me-occurring problem. This provides me with the capacity 1. for learning what i did not discriminate before, but should do in future 2. to see what is not happening to me, but probably will within some time, and to try to prevent it 3. to ask my inner negative-part no change its costums. Very precious for me is alsways to retire, go to my personal solitude and then inquire my personal parallels to what you wrote to me. This morning it has been the question, how i could influence my breathing irregularities, probably related in some way to swallowing problems. What is disturbing them?Have the disturbances a timely pattern, do the variate by different conscious states in which i can come during a 24 h period? Many questions, not many, but some, answers: As my irregularities had gone back immensly after the starting of intake of Carbamazepine some weeks ago, they start to occur again (That s an other topic, too much to write for me here, not interesting for these questions), i noticed now, that they vary by state of conscious ness in the morning. Everything seems easier when in a half-awakened state in the morning. My breathing is stopping, then i breath through my nose, if my nose is too much closed i take a deep breath through my mouth.. aahh. etc. Yesterday evening i had really been exhausted, staring into my notebook, too late, but seemingly fully awaken. Suddenly there happened something, sort of myoclonic state just before sleeping in, my heart was running fast, just as would have happened a disaster. It lasted 5 minutes for calming down...So i could take the parallel for my choking problems- probably i am more sensitive in the evenings and when very tired for such unexpected events. Related to this thread, it came again into my mind a sort of accident many years ago, supposedly already written in this forum: I was uncauteousloy drinking cold water in times of having a cold. Suddenly my breathing organs (must learn the english words for it -) were closed and i could not breath any more. this was dangerous because i had two small children sitting in the bathtube. I reacted by trying to go to my neighbour a store above me to give alarm. In the moment when i opened the door to the house floor (whith cold air) there was first a tiny, and then the saving release in my breathing. I was safed! On this very evening i drove to the emergency ambulance, but they could not tell my further details. Later somebody told my that it would be wellknown, that cold air would be able to solve such cramps (sometimes), which otherwise would have lasted till i would have got unconscious. then, in the inconscious state, there would be a big chance that the cramp would solve by its own...| my dictionary says this could have been a laryngospacm. As this also could be deadly, i suppose, i try to avoid cold liquids, should. I don`t know if you also have got such problems with Ataxia. By this time i did not have Ataxia, but was often infected and weak, - perhaps psychopharmaka (which i had finished to take at this time) could have contributed to this

Dear Rose, i want to give your wishes back with an ordinary saying in German, meaning the same as "better safe than sorry" :

"Vorsicht ist die Mutter der Porzellankiste!" (Prudence is the mother of the porcellaine-box!:)



Alan, I am VERY sensitive to air movement outdoors. It is such a problem that I have to consciously remind myself how dangerous it is for me. I don't use assistive devices when walking, but in the wind my entire sense of up and down are totally gone. I have been hurt many times by forgetting that I have no orientation to the ground in wind. I have not noticed small air movements indoors causing choking. Although, I do choke at times I've attributed it to the position of my head when swallowing, and to over-excitement when eating. There isn't much air movement indoors for me anyway. I would like to know if others are as sensitive to wind outdoors as I am. I think it may be unusual.

Wonderful saying (in German) Akita! I'm going to remember that! Sounds as though you also had a "close call" with your experience...,glad all turned out well for you! Yes, we do learned much, even from our "negative" experiences.

I remember, many years ago, a comment from my speech therapist saying about a change in temperature can affect the swallowing activity - now this was along time ago (at my very first prelim assesment) and there was so much information to take in, I was not paying my full attention.

It bothers me that since then I havent heard anyone say this again?

Thank You for sharing all the experiences, so far, I know it has helped many people, and I have passed these messages on to people who are very gratefull.

Yes, Rose, i was very lucky many times. Often this was after i had been uncautious and a good angel must have saved me.

I just finished a series of speech and swallow therapy it will help but you have to have x-ray for swallowing, too. It has helped tremendously


Speech therapist recommended inhaling steam - just plain- twice daily which seems to relax muscles somewhat . Worth a try?