Relief of Choking
What are Signs of Choking?
Choking occurs when something blocks the airway. When the airway is completely blocked, the patient cannot breathe.
Choking can be a frightening emergency. But if you act quickly, you can help the patient breathe.
If the patient can speak or cough loudly, the patients airway is only partly blocked.
You should not try to open the airway. Let them cough. Help only if the airway is completely blocked.
If you are worried about the patients breathing, phone 9-1-1.
Signs of choking with a completely blocked airway:
• The patient suddenly begins to cough, gag or have high-pitched, noisy breathing.
• A patient may make the choking sign (holding the neck with one or both hands).
• The patient has bluish lips or skin.
Actions to Relieve Choking:
When a patient is choking and can’t breathe or speak, you must give abdominal thrusts (the Heimlich maneuver).
The Heimlich maneuver pushes air from the patient’s lungs like a cough.
This can help remove the blocking object.
You should give abdominal thrusts until the object is forced out or the victim becomes unresponsive.
How to give abdominal thrusts:
1. If you think someone is choking, ask “Are you choking?” If he nods, tell him you are going to help.
2. Kneel or stand firmly behind him and wrap your arms around him so that your hands are in front.
3. Make a fist with one hand.
4. Put the thumb side of your fist slightly above the navel (belly button) and well below the breastbone.
5. Grasp the fist with your other hand and give quick upward thrusts into his abdomen.
6. Give thrusts until the object is forced out and he can breathe, cough, or talk or until he stops responding.
If the choking is not relieved, the patient will become unresponsive.
What to do if the patient becomes unresponsive:
1. Shout for help.
2. Lower the patient to the ground, and start CPR.
3. If someone else is present, send that person to phone 9-1-1 while you start CPR.
The steps of CPR of the patient who has become unresponsive after choking are the same, with one addition.
1. Yell for help. If someone comes, send that person to phone your emergency response number (or 911) and get the AED if available.
2. Lower the victim to the ground, face up. If you are alone with the victim, start the steps of CPR.
3. Every time you open the airway to give breaths, open the victim’s mouth wide and look for the object. If you see an object, remove it with your fingers.
4.If you do not see an object, keep giving sets of 30 compressions and two breaths until an AED arrives, the victim starts to move, or trained help takes over.
5. After about five cycles or two minutes, if you are alone, leave the child victim to call your emergency response number (or 911) and get the AED if available.