Choking occurs when an object (usually food) blocks the flow of air through the windpipe. Someone who is choking cannot talk, cough, or breathe. They typically signal this by clutching their hands to their throat.. The victim may turn blue and/or lose consciousness.
- Take small bites of food and chew thoroughly
- Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol before eating
- Prevent children under three years of age from handling small toys or foods such as peanuts and hard candies
- Call 911 immediately if you suspect choking.
- Perform the Heimlich maneuver on adults and children over the age of one year who are choking and cannot breathe or speak.
The American Red Cross guidance for treatment of a conscious choking victim is as follows:
- Lean person forward and give 5 back blows between the shoulder blades with heel of your hand.
- Give 5 quick abdominal thrusts by placing the thumb side of your fist against the middle of the victim’s abdomen, just above the navel. Grab your fist with the other hand. Give 5 quick, upward abdominal thrusts.
- Continue sets of 5 back blows and 5 abdominal thrusts until the:
- Object is forced out.
- Person can cough forcefully or breathe.
- Person becomes unconscious, in which case begin CPR.