Foods & Drinks

Choking: First Aid Tips

Choking is a type of injury or medical emergency that occurs when an object becomes stuck in the throat or airway, blocking the flow of air and making it difficult to breathe. It can be caused by stuck food or object.

It is recommended to take people to the hospital but what if someone is choking and you are far away from the hospital? This is why every person; parent, teacher, officer etc should be able to know first aid tips for choking to be able to save a life if choking happens.

Choking can be a serious and life-threatening condition. To be able to help a person choking you first need to know the signs of choking and what to do about it.

This post will talk about choking. From the signs and what to do for different groups of people( children, adults, unconscious people, pregnant women), etc.

How people choke

A person is most likely to choke on;

  1. Food- common.
  2. Objects such as coins.

Signs and symptoms of choking

You will not know if a person is choking if you do not know the signs and symptoms. This is why people are advised to be vigilant and alert at all times. Most especially parents and teachers because they spent more time with children.

The following are among the signs a person may inhibit if one is choking;

1. Clutching at their throat

Choking
Choking

Clutching is one of the most immediate signs of choking. The person may grab at their throat with their hand in an attempt to remove the object that is blocking their airway. This is common so watch out, especially during meals.

2. Inability to speak or make any noise.

The inability to speak or make any sound is another sign of choking. Watch out for this sign all the time especially if a person was talking and kept quiet all of a sudden.

The person may not be unable to speak or make any noise because the object is blocking their airway.

3. Difficulty breathing.

The person may have difficulty breathing because the object is obstructing their airway. They may make gasping or wheezing noises when trying to breathe.

4. Panic or anxiety

The person may exhibit signs of panic or anxiety because they are unable to breathe and are in a potentially life-threatening situation.

5. Bluish skin color.

If the person is not getting enough oxygen, their skin may turn bluish in color. This is known as cyanosis.

6. Loss of consciousness.

If the person is not able to get enough oxygen, they may lose consciousness. Loss of consciousness can be fatal if not handled as an emergency.

Note: If you suspect that someone is choking, get help right away. If you are not trained in these techniques, rush them to the hospital immediately.

First Aid for Choking

A person that is choking requires immediate help. You cannot waste any time because it could become tragic if nothing is done. Usually, people trained in first aid can easily help a choking person.

However, you cannot wait for a first-aid-trained person to come before you do anything because choking is considered an emergency.

There are different things to do to help/save a person who is choking. However, this varies from one group to another.

In this post, we shall look at choking for different groups including;

  • Children.
  • Adults.
  • Unconscious person.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Self-first aid.

Group 1: Children

You might think that infants especially those with a year or less cannot choke. The truth however remains that infants can choke on milk or even objects that other children put in their mouths when you are not watching. It is infact one of the fears of new parents.

If you suspect that a child who is 1 to 3 or more years old is choking, it is important to act quickly to try to remove the object that is blocking their airway. Here are the steps to follow:

Check the child’s mouth: Carefully check the child’s mouth to see if the object is visible and can be removed with your fingers. Do not use any sharp objects, as they may cause injury to the child.

For infants, 1 year and below, place it on your forearm while seated and begin gently but firmly thumping the middle of the back five times or more times. The thumping ought to remove the obstruction if there was anything there. But if it doesn’t, turn it up, use your fingers to gently but firmly compress your chest five times, then do it again. If the baby’s airway is clear but he or she still isn’t breathing, start infant CPR.

Note: Heimlich Maneuver should not be performed on children under one year of age or pregnant women.

For older children, 3 years and above, perform the Heimlich maneuver: If the object is not visible or cannot be removed with your fingers, perform the Heimlich maneuver. To do this, stand behind the child and wrap your arms around their waist. Make a fist with one hand and place it just above the child’s belly button. Grasp the fist with the other hand and give quick, upward thrusts until the object is expelled.

Call for help: If the object is not expelled after a few thrusts, or if the child becomes unconscious, call for help immediately or rush it to the hospital.

However, if the object is expelled and the child is still not conscious, start CPR: CPR involves pressing down on the chest with the heel of your hand and giving breaths into the child’s mouth. Follow the instructions provided by the operator or a first aid manual.

Even if you succeed in removing the stuck food or object in the throat of a choking child, ensure you take it to the hospital for more examinations.

Note: It is important to be trained in these techniques and to know how to recognize the signs of choking so that you can take appropriate action in an emergency. If you are not trained in first aid, call for help and follow the instructions provided by the operator or a first aid manual.

Group 2: Conscious Adults

Older adults can also choke. To save a choking older person, use the following tips;

  • Encourage the person to try to cough the object out.
  • If the person is unable to speak or breathe, perform the Heimlich maneuver. This involves standing behind the person and wrapping your arms around their waist. Make a fist with one hand and place it just above the person’s belly button. Grasp the fist with the other hand and give quick, upward thrusts until the object is expelled.
  • If the person becomes unconscious, begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). This involves pressing down on the chest with the heel of your hand and giving breaths into the person’s mouth.

Group 3: Unconscious person.

If a person becomes unconscious due to choking, it is important to act quickly to try to remove the object that is blocking their airway and restore their breathing.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Check the person’s airway: Carefully check the person’s mouth to see if the object is visible and can be removed with your fingers. Do not use any sharp objects, as they may cause injury to the person.
  • Perform the Heimlich maneuver: If the object is not visible or cannot be removed with your fingers, perform the Heimlich maneuver. To do this, stand behind the person and wrap your arms around their waist. Make a fist with one hand and place it just above the person’s belly button. Grasp the fist with the other hand and give quick, upward thrusts until the object is expelled.
  • Start CPR: If the object is not expelled after a few thrusts, or if the person remains unconscious, start CPR. This involves pressing down on the chest with the heel of your hand and giving breaths into the person’s mouth. Follow the instructions provided by the operator or a first aid manual.
  • Rush the person to the hospital– it is very important whether or not you succeed in removing the stuck substance into their throat.

Group 4: Pregnant woman

If a pregnant woman is choking, it is important to act quickly to try to remove the object that is blocking her airway and restore her breathing.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Encourage the woman to cough: Encourage the woman to try to cough the object out. This may be enough to remove the object and restore her breathing.
  • Carefully perform the Heimlich maneuver: However, be careful as the Heimlich maneuver for a pregnant woman is different. Make a fist with one hand and place it just above her belly. Grasp the fist with the other hand and give a quick press into the chest, until the object is expelled. Be careful not to put too much pressure on the woman’s belly, as this could harm the baby.
  • Start CPR: If the woman becomes unconscious, start CPR. This involves pressing down on the chest with the heel of your hand and giving breaths into the woman’s mouth.
  • Schedule a doctor’s appointment with them.

Group 5: Self-help.

We all wish people to be there for us in times of need. However, sometimes people will not be there even if we need their help. This is for people who may be living alone. What will you do if you experience choking and there is no one around you?

This makes it wise for people to learn first aid because it is not only for the purpose of helping other people but also for self-gain. Just in case it ever happens.

What to do in case you are alone and choking;

  • Do not wait, call for help.
  • As you wait for help, start self-help immediately. To do so:
  • Make a fist with one hand and hold it with the other just above your navel.
  • Next, stoop over something sturdy like a table or countertop.
  • Make sure to drive your fist up and in to help expel the food choking you.

Conclusion.

As seen above, it is important to be trained in these techniques and to know how to recognize the signs of choking so that you can take appropriate action in an emergency.

If you are not trained in first aid, call for help and follow the instructions provided by the operator or a first aid manual. Have you ever witnessed a person choking? What did you do?

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button