First Aid for Choking

Choking can occur to anyone. It occurs when any foreign body gets stuck in the windpipe. It therefore blocks the flow of oxygen to the brain. When it comes to adults, the main reason for a person to get choked is due to food. For children, it can be because of swallowing any object and it can get very serious if first aid is not provided immediately.

Causes of Choking

There are various causes of choking like:-

  • When food is not chewed properly and is swallowed.
  • Talking while eating
  • Swallowing big chunks of food
  • Eating food in a hurry
  • Playing or walking with food in the mouth
  • Having alcohol before eating.

Common Symptoms of Choking

Some of the common symptoms of choking are:-

  • Feeling breathlessness
  • Not able to cough
  • Losing consciousness
  • Nails, lips and skin may turn blue
  • Wheezing
  • A person may grasp the throat

First Aid for Choking - Adults

If you notice a person is getting choked, you need to immediately stand behind the person. Make a fist with one hand and put the fist below the ribcage with the thumb pointing inwards. Now with the other hand, hold the fist and give four inward and upward thrusts. Do remember to keep your hands away from the ribcage.

This process has to be repeated till the object is out. You can apply the same first aid method for a child who is choking. Sometimes a person may also lose consciousness. Therefore you need to first sit on your knees beside the person and put the heel of one hand a little above the waistline. Now put your other hand above this one. Give about four inward and upward thrusts and repeat this process till the person spits out the object.

First Aid for Choking - Infants

If an infant is choking, you need to put the infant on your raised knees with the infant’s face facing downwards. Using the heel of your hand, give four blows and continue doing this till the object is out. If this fails, you need to turn the infant and then place two fingers below the line between the lines that connects the nipples.
You need to give four thrusts applying little pressure to bring the object out. Continue doing this if it is required.

How to Prevent Choking

  • Always chew your food well.
  • Concentrate while eating.
  • Guide children when they are eating
  • Try to give soft and chewable food to children

See Also Other First Aid Articles