Learning some basic first aid can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. In a new weekly series we give first aid tips.
Learning some basic first aid can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. In a new weekly series we give first aid tips: how to stop someone choking
Choking is caused by a foreign object such as a piece of food that is stuck at the back of the throat and that blocks the windpipe or causes muscular spasm.
If the blockage of the area airway is mild, the casualty should be able to clear it themselves by coughing. If it is severe they will be unable to speak, cough, or breathe, and will eventually lose consciousness.
Your aims are to remove the obstruction and get the person to hospital if necessary.
If the obstruction is mild:
Encourage them to continue coughing
Remove any obvious obstruction from the mouth.
If the obstruction is severe:
Bend them forward and give up to five back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand
Check the mouth and remove any obstruction.
If obstruction is still present:
Give up to five abdominal thrusts. Stand behind them, put both arms around them with one fist between the naval and the bottom of the breast bone. Grasp your fist with the other hand and pull sharply inwards and upwards.
Check the mouth and remove any obvious obstruction.
If the obstruction does not clear after three cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts:
Dial 999 (or 112) and continue with advice above until help arrives.