We have heard news of people dying from accidents like choking which can be easily attended to through first AID.
Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air.
In adults, a piece of food often is the culprit. Young children often swallow small objects. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, administer first aid as quickly as possible.
The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat. If the person doesn’t give the signal, look for these indications:
- Inability to talk
- Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
- Inability to cough forcefully
- Skin, lips, and nails turning blue or dusky
- Loss of consciousness
If choking is occurring, the Red Cross recommends a “five-and-five” approach to delivering first aid:
- Give 5 back blows. First, deliver five back blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
- Give 5 abdominal thrusts. Perform five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver).
- Alternate between 5 blows and 5 thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.
- To perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on someone else:
- Stand behind the person. Wrap your arms around the waist. Tip the person forward slightly.
- Make a fist with one hand. Position it slightly above the person’s navel.
- Grasp the fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust — as if trying to lift the person up.
- Perform a total of 5 abdominal thrusts, if needed. If the blockage still isn’t dislodged, repeat the five-and-five cycle.
Where choking is severe, the person won’t be able to speak, cry, cough or breathe. Without help, they’ll eventually become unconscious.
The main symptom is an inability to breathe or talk. There may be accompanying coughing. In severe cases, the skin may turn blue.