First Aid on choking person
To prepare yourself for these situations, learn the Heimlich maneuver and CPR in a certified first-aid training course.
How to recognize choking?
It is best not to do anything if the person is coughing forcefully and not turning a bluish color. Ask, “Are you choking?” If the person is able to answer you by speaking, it is a partial airway obstruction. Stay with the person and encourage him or her to cough until the obstruction is cleared.
Do not give the person anything to drink because fluids may take up space needed for the passage of air.
Someone who cannot answer by speaking and can only nod the head has a complete airway obstruction and needs emergency help.
If the person doesn’t give the signal, look for these indications:
- hands clutched to the throat
- hand signals and panic
- inability to talk
- difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
- inability to cough forcefully
- skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky
- loss of consciousness
- by an infant: difficulty breathing, weak cry, weak cough, or both
First Aid on choking person:
First, deliver five back blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
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:
Lean the person forward slightly and stand behind him or her. Make a fist with one hand. Put your arms around the person and grasp your fist with your other hand in the midline just below the ribs. Make a quick, hard movement inward and upward in an attempt to assist the person in coughing up the object. This maneuver should be repeated until the person is able to breathe or loses consciousness.
If the person loses consciousness gently lay him or her flat on their back on the floor. To clear the airway, kneel next to the person and put the heel of your hand against the middle of the abdomen, just below the ribs. Place your other hand on top and press inward and upward five times with both hands. If the airway clears and the person is still unresponsive, begin CPR.If the victim is seated
The maneuver may be performed with the victim seated. In this instance, the back of the chair acts as a support for the victim. The rescuer still wraps his or her arms around the victim and proceeds as described above. The rescuer will often have to kneel down. In the event that the back of the chair the victim is sitting in is too high, either stand the victim up or rotate the victim 90 degrees, so that the back of the chair is now to one side of the victim.
For small rescuers and large victims
When particularly children rescuing an adult: Instead of standing behind the victim, have the victim lie down on his or her back. Straddle the victim’s waist. Place one hand on the belly, halfway between the belly button and the edge of the breastbone. Thrust inward and upward. This is the same technique used in unconscious people.
Abdominal thrusts may not be effective in people who are in the later stages of pregnancy or who are obese. In these instances, chest thrusts can be administered. For the conscious person sitting or standing, take the following steps:
- Place your hands under the victim’s armpits.
- Wrap your arms around the victim’s chest.
- Place the thumb side of your fist on the middle of the breastbone.
- Grab your fist with your other hand and thrust backward. Continue this until the object is expelled or until the person becomes unconscious.
If the person becomes unconscious, perform standard CPR with chest compressions and rescue breaths.
To perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on yourself
- Place a fist slightly above your navel.
- Grasp your fist with the other hand and bend over a hard surface — a countertop or chair will do.
- Shove your fist inward and upward.
- To clear the airway of a pregnant woman or obese person:
- Position your hands a little bit higher than with a normal Heimlich maneuver, at the base of the breastbone, just above the joining of the lowest ribs.
- Proceed as with the Heimlich maneuver, pressing hard into the chest, with a quick thrust.
- Repeat until the food or other blockage is dislodged or the person becomes unconscious.
To clear the airway of an unconscious person
- Lower the person on his or her back onto the floor.
- Clear the airway. If a blockage is visible at the back of the throat or high in the throat, reach a finger into the mouth and sweep out the cause of the blockage. Be careful not to push the food or object deeper into the airway, which can happen easily in young children.
- Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if the object remains lodged and the person doesn’t respond after you take the above measures. The chest compressions used in CPR may dislodge the object. Remember to recheck the mouth periodically.
To clear the airway of a choking infant younger than age 1
- Assume a seated position and hold the infant facedown on your forearm, which is resting on your thigh.
- Thump the infant gently but firmly five times on the middle of the back using the heel of your hand. The combination of gravity and the back blows should release the blocking object.
- Hold the infant faceup on your forearm with the head lower than the trunk if the above doesn’t work. Using two fingers placed at the center of the infant’s breastbone, give five quick chest compressions.
- Repeat the back blows and chest thrusts if breathing doesn’t resume. Call for emergency medical help.
- Begin infant CPR if one of these techniques opens the airway but the infant doesn’t resume breathing.
The Lifevac is a non-powered single patient portable suction apparatus developed for resuscitating a choking victim when standard choking protocol (Heimlich maneuver) has been followed without success.