What to Do When Someone Is Choking?

Choke

Blockage of airway due to a foreign object, is a common problem, particularly in children. If foreign body airway obstruction lasts longer than 10 minutes, there is a high risk of brain damage, and if it continues, it will cause death.

It is recommended that the following techniques be considered for helping choking victims.

Finger sweep

The first thing you should do is to open the victim’s mouth and search for any visible object. If you can see the object, try to remove it with your finger. But if the object is too deep inside the airway or if you cannot see any object, never do finger sweep, because it can push the item more into the airway.

In this case, if the victim is conscious, you should perform 5 back blow and then 5 abdominal thrusts. If the victim is unconscious, you should start CPR immediately. Research has proven that chest compressions during CPR are very effective in removing the foreign object from the airway. After each cycle of CPR, open victim’s mouth and look for the foreign body. Please pay attention that you should never perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on an unconscious victim.

Infant chokingToddler choking

What to do if a baby is choking?

If you want to perform back blows for a child younger than one-year-old, rest him on your hand. Put your other hand in his front and hold his jaw with your hand. Then turn the child and put his head lower than the rest of his body. Now, with your free hand deliver back blows between his shoulders. During all these steps, you should stabilize child’s head with your hand.

Choking first aid

How to save a choking child?

For performing back blows in children older than one year, bend your knee and put it on the ground. Place the child on your lap and support her chest with your hand. In this position, the child’s hands and legs should hang in the air and her weight would press her abdomen towards your knee. Delivering back blows in this condition can dislodge the foreign body easily.

Back blows

How to prevent choking in adults?

In adults, you should stand beside the person. Bend the victim a little forward while you put your hand on his chest and perform back blows with your other hand.

Heimlich maneuver

How to do the Heimlich?

Heimlich maneuver (Abdominal thrusts) are an effective way to remove a foreign body from the airway, though, you should use this technique only for conscious victims. To do this technique, position yourself on the back of the victim and bend her a little forward. Put your hand on her abdomen above the belly button and below the ribcage. Make a fist with your hand and hold it with your other hand. Finally, deliver an upward pressure to the victim’s abdomen.

Heimlich maneuver

How to stop yourself from choking?

Abdominal thrusts also can be useful when you are choking and there is no person around to help you. In this case, you should put your hands on your abdomen and deliver upward pressure to dislodge the object.

Heimlich maneuverIf you cannot insert enough pressure on your belly with your hands, you should find a firm object such as a chair. Bend down and place your abdomen on the edge of the chair to deliver adequate pressure to help the object come out of your airway.

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