Choking Rescue Procedure

Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of wilton-chokingair. 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

Choking may be caused by:

  • Eating too fast, not chewing food well, or eating with dentures that do not fit well
  • Drinking alcohol (even a small amount of alcohol affects awareness)
  • Being unconscious and breathing in vomit
  • Breathing in or swallowing small objects (young children)
  • Injury to the head and face (for example, swelling, bleeding, or a deformity can cause choking)
  • Swallowing problems caused by a stroke or other brain disorders
  • Enlarging tonsils or tumors of the neck and throat
  • Problems with the esophagus (food pipe or swallowing tube)

“Five-and-Five” Approachchoking3

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.

The American Heart Association doesn’t teach the back blow technique, only the abdominal thrust procedures. It’s OK not to use back blows, if you haven’t learned the technique. Both approaches are acceptable.

If you’re the only rescuer, perform back blows and abdominal thrusts before calling your local emergency number for help. If another person is available, have that person call for help while you perform first aid.

To prepare yourself for these situations, learn the Heimlich maneuver and CPR in a certified first-aid training course.

Abdominal Thrusts-Heimlich Maneuver-Choking Rescue Procedure

Choking First Aid-Unconscious Adult or Child over 1 year

Preventing Choking



Related Topics

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation-CPR DRSABCD First Aid Method

What is AED

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