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What to do incase of Choking

Choking is the name given to a blockage in the airways that compromises normal breathing in various degrees. Mild cases are usually easy to deal with, and our defense mechanisms are enough to cough the obstruction out of the airways. In severe cases, patients may not be able to cough properly, and they need the assistance of anyone else to give them rescue measures and resume their normal breathing. Choking is an emergency that any of us may go through, and it is entirely unexpected. This is why it is essential to know the basic first aid advice to be prepared in any case where rescue measures are necessary.

First aid advice for adult choking

When someone is choking, first remember that most cases are mild blockages and not complete obstruction of the airway. If the affected person is still able to speak, breathe, or cough, it is a mild blockage he can overcome without any external aid. In these cases, encouraging the person to cough and giving him a gentle tap in the back is usually enough to help them. On the contrary, if you notice he’s unable to cough and is not making any sound, it is probably a serious case.

The first thing you need to do is help him bending forward and blow sharply in the back with your hand. Repeat up to 5 times. If this first measure did not work, perform the Heimlich maneuver by standing behind him, closing your hands between the chest and abdomen and pulling upwards to create pressure on the diaphragm. Repeat up to 5 times. If the second measure did not work, you can repeat the process alternating between back blows and abdominal thrusts.

First aid advice for infant choking

First aids in choking infants and babies has similar maneuver than adult first aids, but the warning signs may be a bit different. You will know an infant is choking when he’s unable to cry, he’s not breathing or making any noise after feeding. If that’s the case, you should proceed immediately with back blows and modified chest thrusts. Back blows in infants should be performed while holding the baby with his face down and performing quick and sharp blows between the shoulder blades. While you’re at it, remember to support their head, especially in 6-months-old infants and younger. The resulting vibration in the airways usually results in dislodging the blockage.

Also Read  First Aid Checklist

If that doesn’t work, turn the baby over. Place your index and middle finger in the center of the chest below nipple height and just before reaching the abdomen. Push 5 times downwards and turn him facing downwards again to repeat back blows.

In both cases, it is essential to be ready to call emergency services if you’re not successful in clearing the airways or when the patient becomes unresponsive. After calling, continue performing back blows and abdominal thrusts until medical help arrives or the airways are cleared, and if the patient becomes unresponsive, start performing chest compressions alternated with rescue breath.

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