How to handle choking – what if a person chokes?

Always consider choking an emergency, even though the seriousness varies. A person who is breathing while coughing maybe able to free a blocked air passage without assistance. Anyone who can’t breathe or speak needs immediate help. So also does someone whose coughing is weak, breathing difficult, and lips bluish- unless he can speak. Ask the person, ‘Are you choking?” If he says “Yes” out loud, call an ambulance; the victim maybe having a heart attack and not be choking.

Abdominal and chest thrusts
If the choking victim is standing, wrap your arms around him and make a fist with one hand, thumb inward, and place it above the victim’s waist below the breastbone. (Keep your hands below the cartilage that extends down from the center of the rib cage.) Grasp the fist with your other hand and press in with quick inward and upward thrusts. Give as many thrusts as necessary to dislodge the object.

If the victim is sitting and cannot stand, move behind his chair, wrap your arms around him and the chair, and apply the thrusts as described.

If you start to choke, you can give abdominal thrusts to yourself. Just make a fist as if you were helping someone else. Press your fist into your waist, below the breastbone. Thrust inward and upward, using both your hands. Continue thrusting until the object is expelled.

Another method if you’re alone is to position yourself over the back of a chair, the edge of a table, or something similar. Press your abdomen against it so that the edge thrusts in and up toward your diaphragm.

Roll a prone person faceup; kneel close to or astride his hips. Place one of your hands over the other and, with the heel of the lower hand, give the same hard in-and-up thrust. For children

If the choking victim is a child over the age of 2, give the abdominal thrusts as described for a standing choking victim, but modify the force of the thrusts according to the child’s size.

Hold a child under 2 years old over your arm or thigh, supporting his head with your hand. With the heel of your other hand, give four quick blows between the shoulder blades. If
this technique fails, place two fingers on his breastbone and press straight down (up to four times if necessary).

Then look into his mouth and, if you see the object, sweep your finger around his mouth to remove it. Then give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

After treating a choking victim, take him to a doctor as soon as possible. If he loses consciousness, give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation right away.