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Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. In adults, a piece of food often is the culprit. Young children often swallow small objects. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, administer first aid as quickly as possible.

The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat. If the person doesn’t give the signal, look for these indications:

  • Inability to talk
  • Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
  • Inability to cough forcefully
  • Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky
  • Loss of consciousness
Choking Tips
Choking Tips

What you should do if someone is choking?

  • Give 5 back blows. First, deliver five back blows between the persons should blades with the heel of your hand.
  • Give 5 abdominal thrusts. Perform five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich manoeuvre). This should be done until:
    • The object is forced out and the person can breathe, cough, or talk
    • The person stops responding
  • If the person stops responding, check if he needs CPR. If he does, provide it if you know how.

If you notice that someone is choking it is important to contact your local paramedical services as soon as possible to ensure that the person gets medical treatment to ensure that there were no internal damage obtained.