There are many causes that lead to choking. Oftentimes, it is when a piece or food or other objects get stuck in the upper airway. In children, toys that are marked with the choking hazard warning must be kept away from prescribed ages as tiny parts and pieces might cause incidents.
- Coughing or gagging, hand signals like throat pointing and panic coupled with the inability to talk specially suddenly
- The victim clutching the throat — this is the universal sign and is a way of telling you or others of choking
- Wheezing, passing out, tuning pale or blue around the lips, fingernails and face
- In infants or small children, difficulty breathing, turning blue as well as weak cry, cough or both
First Aid for Choking (Adult or Child)
1. Encourage Relaxation
Talk to the patient and tell them to take slow, deep breaths. Encourage them to relax and cough to dislodge any foreign object in their airway.
2. If unsuccessful, call for help
Do not delay calling for medical help if the patient cannot immediately clear their airway by themselves.
3. Assist the patient to clear their airway
Attempt back blows
Bend the patient forward from their torso up. Using the palm of your hand, between the patient’s shoulder blades, strike the patient firmly up to five times. Check between each strike if the foreign object has been dislodged.
If unsuccessful, attempt chest thrusts
Place the palm of one hand in the centre of the patients back. Place the other palm of your hand in the centre of the patient’s front chest – in the CPR position. Thrust them forward firmly, but slower than you would administer chest compressions. Check between each thrust to see if the foreign object has been dislodged.
Alternate between back blows and chest thrusts until the object has been dislodged or medical help arrives. If the patient loses consciousness, then attempt resuscitation. If you are able to dislodge the obstruction causing the choke, calm and reassure the patient and seek medical help.