A person chokes when a foreign object becomes trapped at the back of the throat, either blocking the airway of causing a muscle spasm. Choking in adults is often caused by improperly chewed foods. In addition to choking on food, an infant or child may put a small object in their mouth that becomes trapped in the throat.
Symptoms of Choking:
- Difficulty speaking
- Trouble breathing
- Congested face turning to a gray-blue color
- Distress signs, such as pointing to the throat or grasping the neck
Treatment for a Conscious Adult Choking Person:
- Choking requires immediate action
- Ask, “Are you choking?” If the person can respond by speaking or coughing, there is no need to begin medical treatment. Continue to monitor the victim.
- If the person is unable to speak or cough, begin the Heimlich Maneuver, a system of abdominal thrusts that work to clear the throat:
- The rescuer stands behind the person, bringing his arms around the victim’s abdomen
- The rescuer will make a fist with one hand, placing his thumb against the person`s abdomen. The opposite hand reaches around the person and grasps the fist to provide support
- The rescuer links his hands below the person rib-cage and pulls inward and upward with a strong force until the object is expelled
- Discontinue the Heimlich Maneuver when the person begins to cough, speak, or lose consciousness
Treatment for an Unconscious Adult Choking Person:
- Call 911
- Lay the person face up on the floor
- Use one hand to support and position the person’s chin. Use the thumb of that hand to depress the victim’s tongue while grasping the chin with the palm and fingers. At the same time, lift the jaw. Use the index finger of the opposite hand as a hook to clear any foreign materials inside the person`s mouth
- Open the person`s airway by tilting the head back and raising the chin. Attempt to ventilate the person (as explained in the CPR guidelines). If the airway is still blocked, re-position the head and attempt to clear it again. If this is still not effective (the chest does not rise), begin compression
- The rescuer should kneel next to the person and stack his hands over the middle of his/her chest. Deliver a series of 15 compression, as used for CPR. Alternate series of 15 compression with attempts to clear the person`s airway and ventilate, as described in the earlier steps.
- Discontinue compression when the object is ejected, rescue breathing is successful, or the person begins to breathe independently. Place the revived victim in the recovery position.
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