How to Help Someone Who Is Choking

August 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm 2 comments

How to Help Someone Who Is Choking

Choking can cause a simple coughing fit or something more serious like a complete block in the airway, which can lead to death. The following are signs that someone might be choking:

  • Coughing, gagging or wheezing
  • Clutching throat or pointing to throat
  • Suddenly unable to talk
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Skin, lips or nails turning blue

If you witness someone choking, call 9-1-1 immediately and follow these tips recommended by the Red Cross:

  • 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.

If you are choking, follow these tips:

  • Call 9-1-1 even if you can’t speak and leave the phone turned on and off the hook.
  • Clear your airway yourself by thrusting your mid abdomen (the area at the bottom of your ribs) against the back of a chair or railing.

View a step-by-step diagram of how to perform these steps here.

Source: National Safety Council and Red Cross

Entry filed under: Safety, To Your Health.

Help Prevent Choking It’s Never Too Late to Get Fit

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David G Holmes  |  November 11, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Wouldn’t it be more helpful to explain more fully with diagrams showing the step by step movements of the “Heimlich maneuver”

    • 2. tmkupdt1  |  November 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you David for your suggestion. We have updated the post with a link to a step-by-step diagram.


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