Health and MedicineFirst aidWhat is choking and what to do (first aid?)

What is choking and what to do (first aid?)

What is choking and when does it occur? In addition, he discovers first aid to act quickly, something vital to prevent the person’s life from being in danger.

First aid is the techniques and procedures that, in an immediate, limited and temporary way, are carried out on the person who needs it, whether they are the victim of a specific accident or a sudden illness. It can happen that a person drowns, is stung by a bee and is allergic to the sting, suffers a burn or falls and is injured.

Precisely for all this, it is extremely important to keep in mind 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’s airways are blocked, so they cannot breathe.

Its causes are very varied, although the most common and usual are especially related to the jamming of certain objects, or due to poor swallowing of food.

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

Partial choking occurs when the passageways are not completely blocked. It is easy to know that this type of choking exists because the person will start making noises and coughing, and we can also hear their labored 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 pale and then turn bluish.

How to identify if a person is suffering from choking?

Although the clear and unequivocal sign that a person is choking is to put their hands to their throat and grab it, it is not always possible for the affected individual to carry out this action. For this reason, we must look at other signs or symptoms that can clearly indicate that a person is suffocating due to choking:

  • Inability to speak, shout or laugh loudly.
  • Difficulty breathing, coupled with strange sounds when trying to breathe.
  • The skin turns red and then turns pale or blue. Like the lips and nails, which turn dark or blue?
  • Loss of consciousness may occur.

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

Choking interrupts the normal flow of oxygen to the brain. For this reason, it is extremely important to offer first aid as quickly as possible, to prevent more serious problems.

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

The most appropriate, in fact, is to try to alternate 5 blows on the affected person’s back and 5 compressions, until the obstruction is practically completely displaced.

What to do if you are choking yourself?

If you’re choking yourself and there’s no one around to help, try quickly calling 911 first.  You can then perform the Heimlich maneuver yourself. How?

  1. Place one of the two fists above your navel, supporting it with the other hand and supporting yourself on a hard surface (for example, a chair, a table or a kitchen counter).
  2. Push your fist in and up, trying to clear your airway.


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