Swallowing Awareness Day Date in the current year: March 13, 2024

Swallowing Awareness Day Swallowing Awareness Day is celebrated annually on a Wednesday during Nutrition & Hydration Week (the second full week of March). It was created to raise awareness of swallowing disorders and their effect on quality of life.

Most people take swallowing for granted because it is one of the most basic body functions. However, it is a complex process that involves more than two dozen muscles and the autonomous nervous system. Swallowing is as essential to life as breathing; people swallow around three times an hour while sleeping, once a minute while awake, and even more during meals, amounting to 500-700 times a day.

Millions of people around the world have a swallowing disorder called dysphagia (swallowing difficulty or inability to swallow). Most often dysphagia is a symptom or sign of an underlying health condition, but sometimes it has no organic cause (functional dysphagia). It can occur to anyone at any age, although elderly people are more likely to have dysphagia because it is a common complication of stroke, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. People living with dysphagia may have trouble eating, drinking, chewing, sucking, taking medication, and controlling saliva, which can cause significant discomfort, severely affect one’s quality of life, and lead to dangerous complications.

The first signs of dysphagia usually include gagging, choking, or coughing while eating or drinking because of the food or liquid “going the wrong way”. Other signs include change in voice quality, difficulty breathing, pain while swallowing (odynophagia), and regular chest infections not accompanied by signs of the common cold.

If ignored, swallowing difficulties may lead to pulmonary aspiration (when a foreign substance such as food, drink or saliva gets into the lungs) or reflux (when the contents of the stomach come back up). Pulmonary aspiration can cause pneumonia, and reflux can cause ulcers in the esophagus, lung problems, and other complications. Untreated dysphagia can also cause dehydration, malnutrition, and weight loss.

There are many ways to treat dysphagia depending on the underlying cause and other factors; treatment strategies are chosen on a case-to-case basis. Treatment is managed by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals such as primary physicians, speech-language pathologists, gastroenterologists, dietitians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, pharmacists, nurses, etc.

Swallowing Awareness Day, also known as Swallow Awareness Day or World Swallow Awareness Day, is observed on a Wednesday during Nutrition & Hydration Week, which usually takes place during the second full week of March, because swallowing is essential to nutrition and hydration. It aims to highlight the importance of swallowing and raise awareness of how health professionals help people living with swallowing disorders.

Swallowing Awareness Day should not be confused with World Swallowing Day. The latter is celebrated on December 12; it was launched in 2011 as a joint initiative of the Dysphagia Research Society and the Japanese Society for Dysphagia Rehabilitation.

Remind me with Google Calendar


International Observances


Swallowing Awareness Day, international observances, health observances, Nutrition and Hydration Week, dysphagia