What to Do When Someone is Choking

Choking is a very serious condition and should be attended to immediately. It occurs when there is obstruction of the airway. A foreign object commonly causes it or a food stuck in the windpipe. Someone who cannot speak, cough or breathe clearly has a complete airway obstruction. In worst cases, the choking victim might even turn blue or gray.

So He is Really Choking, What are You going to Do?
Encourage the victim to cough forcefully until the obstruction comes clear. Do not give him any fluid because this might aggravate the blockage and compete with the air for the space. The Heimlich maneuver (explained below) is performed in order to induce an artificial cough that would clear the obstruction. But this is administered only to adults and children above 1 year. But you have to make sure first that the person is really choking before attempting the Heimlich Maneuver. This maneuver consists of quick abdominal thrusts that abruptly force the diaphragm upwards. This action compresses the lungs and forces the air out. The lungs would then emit a rush of air, which would remove the foreign object that has been stuck.

Heimlich Maneuver
Below are the ways to perform the abdominal thrusts or the Heimlich maneuver:

• Standing
Stand beside the victim and make him lean slightly forward. Make a fist with one hand. Put you arms around the victim and grasp your fist with the other hand just below his ribcage. Make a quick inward and upward movement with the fist, this act would assist him to cough up the foreign object. This action should be repeated until the victim is able to breathe.

• Laying Down
If the person becomes unconscious, lay him with his back flat on the floor. Put the heel of your hand against the middle of the abdomen of the victim, and place your other hand on top and press inward and upward up to five times. If the victim is still unresponsive, perform CPR.

After the victim has regained consciousness and the airway is already clear, call for medical help. The victim still needs to be evaluated.

What if I'm Choking and I'm Alone?
If there is no one to perform the Heimlich maneuver for you, you can do it yourself. You can utilize your fists to do thrusts on yourself until you cough up the foreign object. Or you can lean over the back of a chair and press hard against it until the obstruction clears.

It is very imperative to respond swiftly to someone who is choking. It could lead to suffocation if the obstruction won't be popped out of the airways immediately.


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