May is Better Speech and Hearing Month, and June is Dysphagia Awareness Month, so the next couple months we’re raising awareness of the services speech pathologists provide to adults, since they’re often misunderstood, specifically services for swallowing. One of the main areas speech pathologists treat in adults is dysphagia or difficulty swallowing. It is estimated that over 10 million Americans have some form of dysphagia, yet most people are unaware of what it is.
Sometimes, if the dysphagia is with liquids (which travel more quickly than solids and often cause more difficulty), thickened liquids are prescribed to slow the liquid down a bit and prevent it from going down the wrong way and entering the airway. Thickener is used temporarily for some patients while exercises are being completed to strengthen the muscles and hopefully wean off of it. Others use thickener long term (e.g., progressive diseases).
Many of our patients who have to use thickener claim that they’re embarrassed by it when they have to use it in public places (e.g., carrying the packets to restaurants, etc.) since most people are unfamiliar with the concept. As one portion of our awareness campaign this month, we are beginning a thickened liquid challenge!
Help us raise awareness of dysphagia this month! Please complete the challenge, share this post, and nominate 3 more people to participate!
Instructions to Participate:
Drink a 4-ounce drink thickened to honey consistency. (I have free thickener samples if you need one! You’re welcome to stop by the clinic and take the challenge with us! We would love that!) Thickener can also be purchased at pharmacies. Cans of thickener are cheap and can be shared with a friend who is also taking the challenge if you purchase one.Videotape yourself and include an announcement that you accept the challenge. Post the video in the comments section on our Facebook post.If you fail the challenge, donate $10 to a charity of your choice that helps people with difficulty swallowing (some suggestions are listed below in the comments).At the end of your challenge, nominate 3 other people to complete the challenge, and tag them on the Facebook page.
Help us raise awareness of dysphagia this month! Please share this, and if you complete the challenge, comment below to let us know! Thanks for playing along!