First Aid: Choking

Choking takes place when there is something blocking the air flow to the lungs. This may be due to a foreign object that a person unintentionally swallowed or a food which was too big for the person to swallow as a whole. Even some respiratory diseases can cause a person to choke. And the fact is that people do die because of choking. If you find someone choking, you can do the following first aid treatment:

Step 1: Give the choking person five consecutive back blows between the shoulder blades using the heel of your hand.

Step 2: If the person is still choking then the next thing you should do is abdominal thrusts. Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around the person’s waists. Then clenched your fists and place it above the person’s navel while grabbing it with your other hand. The quickly pull inward and upward at the same time.

Abdominal thrust - choking

Do at least five successive back blows and five abdominal thrust until the swallowed object has been coughed out. However, this is not applicable to obese individuals or pregnant women.

Step 3: If the person choking is an obese or a pregnant woman, stand behind them and wrap your arms around them then instead of positioning your hands on the waists, position them at the base of the breastbone. Then quickly pull inward and upward until the object is coughed out.

Step 4: If the person is no longer breathing or unconscious, then it is time to provide the victim CPR.

Step 5: Make sure to call for help if the situation is not improving.

Knowing how to handle this kind of situation can potentially save someone’s life however, it is also important to know if the victim needs immediate professional medical attention.

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