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First Aid for Choking

May 4th, 2014 | Posted by Lana Badon in Basic First Aid Skills - (Comments Off on First Aid for Choking)

Choking is a life threatening injury that can happen to a child or a friend of yours. No one can predict accidents. Hence, it is a must to know the basic first aid training. Taking up short courses for first aid training gives you the knowledge on how to save lives, proper handling of different first aid materials, and to avoid more accidents to happen.

Choking is one of the most common accidents that may occur in children and adults. Choking happen when an object accidentally blocked partially or completely the throat of a person. Food is the leading cause of choking for children and adults. Children below 1 year old usually insert small object into their mouth – that is there way of exploring things around them and that causes choking or death. Blocked air path decreases oxygen supply to the brain, and brain can only survive without oxygen supply for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Lack of oxygen to the brain may likely develop serious and possibly irreversible brain damage.

Mild choking in adults and children over one year old – This occurs when the air path is partly blocked. Affected persons usually can’t be able to speak, breathe or cough. An adult or a child can remove the blockage by themselves.

Steps to help an adult and a child over one year old with mild choking:

  • Reassure them.
  • Advise the person to keep coughing to be able to remove the foreign object.
  • Assist the person to remove the blockage using two fingers and thumb to grasp the object.

Signs of Severe Choking:

  • Clasped hand on throat – universal sign of choking
  • Inability to speak
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Unable to cough forcefully
  • Loss of consciousness if blockage is not cleared.

First-Aid Treatment for Severe Choking:   

Heimlich Maneuver

Heimlich Maneuver


In helping an adult or a child over one year old who is severely choking, an abdominal thrust should be performed. It is widely known as Heimlich Maneuver. Here are the steps to be taken:

  1. Stand or position yourself behind the person and wrap your arms around the waist. The rescuer’s arms should be just above the belt line.
  2. Make a fist with one hand and grasp the fist with your other hand. Make sure that you place your fist, thumb side in, against the patient’s abdomen between the waist and the rib cage.
  3. Press your fist abruptly into the patient’s abdomen with a quick inward-upward thrust to increase airway pressure to remove the obstructing object.
  4. Perform this maneuver 5 times to be able to quickly remove the obstruction.
  5. Repeat the procedure until the object comes out of the patient’s mouth.
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