Choking occurs when any foreign object is lodged in throat or airway.When a person is choking ,the airway leading to the lungs is obstructed,often by a piece of food that gets lodged in the airway.Young children and babies are particularly likely to choke on food or something they have put in their mouth.The person may cough and gasp,get red in the face,have difficulty speaking,skin nails and lips may turn blue and in severe condition the victim may get unconscious.
Choking may occurs due to swallowing a large piece of food,eating food quickly , not chewing well, talking while eating,consuming alcohol before meal,wearing dentures or walking/playing while eating food or any foreign object in mouth.
Often,coughing alone is enough to clear the blockage,if it does not,First-Aid measures are necessary to prevent loss of consciousness.
Dealing with choking (Adults) - First Aid
Your main goal is to clear the blockage from the victim's throat as quickly as possible.
Do not put your fingers in the victim's mouth or throat in an attempt to find any trapped object. If you can see an object pick it out with your finger and thumb.
- If the victim is coughing,encourage him or her to keep doing this.
- If he or she has only weak cough or stops breathing , stand behind the victim and put both arms around him or her.
- Make a fist and with,your knuckles facing upward and your thumb towards his or her abdomen. Position your fist in the middle of the victims abdomen,below the ribs and above the navel.Make sure the person is bending well forward.
- Grab your first with your other hand and pull sharply inward and upward to give abdominal thrusts, then check the victims mouth to see if the blockage has been dislodged. Stop thrusts if the airway has been cleared; if not, give 3 further abdominal thrusts.
- If after a further 3 abdominal thrusts,the blockage has not cleared,call your doctor or emergency helpline number and continue to give thrusts until help arrives. If the victim becomes unconscious get ready to perform CPR(Cardio-Pulmonary-Resuscitation).
- If the person is lying down unconscious,straddle the person with your knees.Place heel of one hand above waistline and place other hand over the first.Give inward and upward thrust.Repeat till the object is ejected or medical help arrives.
Dealing with choking (Infants) - First Aid
- Lay the babies face down along your forearm supporting the body and the hand.
- Give up to 5 slaps on the baby's back with the palm of your hand.
- Make sure that the baby's head is below the level of the chest.
- Check the baby's mouth and remove any visible object with fingers.
- If it does not work,lay the baby's face upward on your arm.
- Place the two fingers an inch below the imaginary lines connecting the nipple.
- Give up to 4-5 downward thrusts forcefully to the chest to bring out the object.
- Check the mouth again.
- If the chest thrust fails again perform the back slap and chest thrust technique alternately and call the emergency medical service or take victim to the nearby hospital.
- Do CPR until the emergency medical service arrive.
How to prevent choking ?
- Eat slowly and chew the food well.
- Do not talk,read or watch TV while eating.
- Supervise children while they are eating or playing.
- Give easily chewable ,soft food to the children.
- Do not leave tiny objects within the reach of children.