How To Stop A Choking Victim

DrJewell Jan 10, 2008 Health
Choking occurs when an object gets lodged in the throat and prevents air from entering or exiting the airways. The victim will exhibit difficulty in breathing and will show respiratory distress. Choking can occur suddenly and unexpectedly and can become an medical emergency. If not treated promptly it will cause death. Therefore, it is always better to be prepared for these emergency situations. Many lives of choking victims could have been saved if somebody nearby had known the life-saving res

Depending on the age, size, state of consciousness of the choking victim will determine which particular rescue maneuver to use, ie, Heimlich manuever or the abdominal thrust, chest thrust or back blows. 

The signs and symptoms to look for when a person is choking will be difficulty in breathing, difficulty in speaking. The person will sow signs of increasing anxiety and start to panic. he or she will grasp the throat area or point to he throat region to demonstrate the blockage.

For a conscious victim you have to stand behind the person choking and place your arms around the abdominal area, ie, around the waistline. Do not touch the ribs. Form a fist with one hand and place the thumb side down onto the area just above the navel area (center of the abdominal region) and then grip the clasped fist with the other hand. Keeping the elbows facing outwards, thrust several times rapidly and forcefully into the abdominal wall with an upward motion. This should help move the foreign body from the airway.

To perform a the Heimlich on an unconscious victim you need to place the person flat on his back then straddle yourself between the victim's legs around the thigh region. Put one hand with the heel of the palm onto the navel region below the breastbone on the middle of the abdominal. Place the other hand on the top on the hand ensuring that your fingers are pointing towards the victim's head. Then thrust downwards into the abdomen with quick rapid movements. 

There are a few modifications to the rescue manuevers for pregnant and obese choking victims. For these individuals who are choking but still conscious you need to place both of your arms around the victims body and under the armpits. Put your fist of one hand onto the middle of the breastbone region roughly between the nipple line. Then grip the fist with the other hand. Keeping both elbows at right angles to the victim's body, give several forceful thrust into the chest and ensuring that the each movement is rapid, quick and utilizing an upward motion.

For assisting a choking baby under one year of age the back blow maneuver can be used. If the baby is choking you will need to rest your forearm on your thigh. Hold the choking baby face down on to the straighten forearm with the baby's head at a lower position than the rest of the body. With the hand holding the baby try to also hold the baby's jaw between the thumb and the index finger. Next, with the palm of the other hand give several blows between the shoulder blade region on the baby's back. 

Another maneuver to use on a choking baby is called the chest thrust maneuver. Here you will need to rest your forearm on your thigh and place the victim face up on the straightened forearm ensuring that the head of the victim is slightly lower than the rest of the body. Position and firmly support the baby's head and neck. Place your middle and index fingers from the other hand on the breastbone or chest area just below the nipples. Push inwards about 1 inch into the breastbone region with the e fingers for several thrusts ensuring you keep the fingers on the baby's chest in between each thrust.

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  • Last Updated : Jan 10, 2008