First Aid for Choking:
It might be one of the best days of your life, you were away from all the burdens of life enjoying with your family and friends. As planned you were in one of the finest hotels in your city, and the whole group will be happy and enjoying every moment.
Hunger coupled with fun made one of the members to take a big bite and suddenly!!!!!!!!!
He holds his throat and tries to speak out to you and his eyes protrude out with a sigh of fear of loosing his precious life. For some time all this seemed to be a prank. Suddenly he struggles and gasps for breath and his dear life, panic runs, all of sudden, fun and happiness vanishes and everyone is left clueless on the situation. Come on! it’s a crisis situation and many cry for a medical help.
But your loved one is running out of time. Brain death happens if it’s starved with out oxygenated blood with in 7-8 minutes. And unfortunately your loved one is chocking to death as he was trying to take a big bite that was beyond what he could swallow.
Once a brain death happens the person is considered to be in a vegetable state and death follows. I believe none of us want to witness such a situation ever happening in our lives… So learn the basic first aid for choking.
What is Choking?
Choking is a condition where a foreign object is lodged in the windpipe and the victim gasps for breath when his/her windpipe is obstructed. This blocks the oxygen supply to the brain.
In adults, choking mainly occurs due to food and in case of children, it also occurs on swallowing an object and could be fatal, if first aid is not given in time.
Major Causes of Choking:
- Swallowing a large piece of food or swallowing food that is not well chewed
- Eating food quickly and eating while talking
- Consuming alcohol before a meal
- Wearing dentures and accidentally they getting into the windpipe
- Children being careless and walking / playing with food in mouth.
Major Symptoms of Choking:
The universal signs of choking are:
- Hands will grasp throat
- Noisy breathing
- Inability to cough
- Skin, nails and lips may turn blue
- Loss of consciousness in severe cases
Heimlich maneuver and CPR –2 techniques
If a person is unable to talk, try the emergency procedure “Heimlich Maneuver” wherein the first aid provider forces the diaphragm up-to the lungs and creates an artificial cough.
“Heimlich Maneuver” is performed on the victim who is choking with the universal sign and symptoms.
Form a fist with one hand while standing behind the victim. Place the fist below the ribcage, feel the belly button and place the fist above the belly button with the thumb inward. Hold the fist with the other hand and keep arms off ribcage. Give four inward and upward thrust and repeat till the object or obstruction is ejected.
Heimlich Maneuver On an Unconscious Person:
If a person is lying down, straddle the person with your knees; place heel of one hand above waistline, Place other hand over the first.
Perform four inward and upward thrust and repeat till the object is coughed or vomited out.
Heimlich Maneuver On an Infant:
- Place your forearm over your raised knees
- Place the infant face down over your fore arm
- Give five blows (back straps) using the heel of your hand
- Repeat till object comes out
If it does not work, turn the baby and place two fingers an inch below the imaginary line connecting nipples and start giving chest thrusts forcefully to bring out the object and continue CPR till you get expert medical help. Repeat if required and seek medical help as soon as possible.
This method is applied for adults and children too, but most experts do not recommend it for infants less than 1 year old. You can also perform the maneuver on yourself as well.
Remember: Never perform a blind sweep with finger in the mouth, as it would further push the obstruction down inside.
Prevention is always better than cure:
- While eating, concentrate on the task
- Do not eat quickly, without chewing
- Supervise children while they eat
- Give easily chewable, soft food to children
- Do not leave tiny objects within the reach of children
Remember: Such medical emergencies happen with out any warning or early signs. Hence, whenever you find some one in trouble, help the individual who is unable to speak and needs help. Call for medical assistance and meanwhile perform such first aid maneuvers. Learn to save lives.