What is choking and what to do (first aid)

The first aid are the techniques and procedures that, immediately, limited and temporary are performed on the person who needs it, whether victim of a certain accident or a sudden illness. It may happen that a person chokes, stings a bee and is allergic to the bite, suffers a burn or falls and injures himself.

Precisely for all this, it is extremely important to keep in mind what are the basic first aid that can be carried out depending on the injury or accident that the person has suffered.

What is choking?

Choking occurs when a person is blocked by the air passage, so he can not breathe.

Its causes are very varied, although the most common and usual have a special relationship with the clogging of certain objects, or by a bad swallowing of food.

There are different types of choking depending on the case in question. That is, we can find ourselves before a partial choking, or before a total choking.

Partial choking occurs when the routes are not completely obstructed. It is easy to know that there is this type of choking because the person will make noise and cough, and we can also hear their forced breathing.

In case of total choking the person will not be able to emit any type of noise, since the object or food does not allow the entry or exit of air. Therefore, the person is unable to breathe, their skin will begin to turn pale and then turn blue.

How to identify if a person is suffering a choking?

Although the clear and unequivocal signal that a person is choking is take your hands to your throat and grab it, it is not always possible for the affected individual to perform this action. Therefore, we should look at other signs or symptoms that can clearly indicate that a person is suffocating due to a choking:

  • Inability to speak, shout or laugh loudly.
  • Difficulty breathing, together with strange sounds when trying to breathe.
  • The skin becomes red and then turns pale or blue. Like the lips and nails, which turn dark or blue.
  • The loss of knowledge can occur.

What can we do when a person is choking? First aid

Choking interrupts the normal passage of oxygen to the brain. For this reason, it is very important to offer first aid as quickly as possible, to prevent more serious problems. TheAmerican Red Cross (American Red Cross) advises to do the following:

  1. Give 5 blows to the affected person's back. To do this, you must stand directly behind (if you are a child you should kneel behind him), place an arm across the chest, tilt the person at waist level-so that the upper part of your body is parallel to the floor -, and give five blows to the back, between the shoulder blades.
  2. Perform 5 abdominal compressions (Heimlich maneuver). Sit behind the person. Put the arms around the affected person's waist, placing the fist, with the thumb inwards and just above the navel, holding firmly with the other hand. Squeeze the fist hard up and in, so you will increase the pressure and force the choking object out of the trachea. It may be necessary to repeat it several times.

The most appropriate, in fact, is to try to alternate 5 blows in the back of the affected person and 5 compressions, until getting to move the obstruction almost completely.

What to do if you are choking yourself?

If you are choking yourself and there is no one around to help you, try at first to call emergency quickly. Then you can perform the Heimlich maneuver yourself. How?:

  1. Place one of the two fists above the navel, holding it with the other hand and leaning on a hard surface (for example, a chair, a table or a kitchen countertop).
  2. Push the fist in and up, to try to clear the airways.

Images of Istockphoto. This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor.

First Aid in Choking (March 2023)