Choking Prevention and Care
Surely many of us have felt that moment of panic when we feel something momentarily lodge in our throat while we’re talking or laughing while we eat. For me it was a piece of gum after a friend of mine told a particularly funny joke. That being said, choking emergencies are no laughing matter! Below I’ll cover the tell-tale signs that someone is choking and what to do if you’re around someone who is choking.
Signs and Symptoms
The universal sign of a choking victim is the victim’s hands holding onto their neck and throat. If you suspect a person is choking, ask them and they will probably respond with frantic head nodding. They’ll be nodding their head because they won’t be able to speak. In a choking emergency all air movement in the trachea is obstructed, so talking and coughing aren’t possible. If the choking victim is coughing, encourage them to continue.
If the Object Doesn’t Dislodge
If you’ve encouraged them to cough but the obstruction isn’t budging, the American Red Cross developed a technique that will hopefully prevent the victim from going unconscious. Before you begin the maneuver, make sure to call 9-1-1 and make sure that emergency medical services are en route just in case the victim goes unconscious. Recently, the American Red Cross changed their traditional Heimlich maneuver to a more modern “5 and 5” technique. It includes five stomach thrusts much like the Heimlich, followed by five firm back blows. Alternate these two techniques until the item is dislodged, EMS arrives, or someone of higher skill takes over.
Choking could be a chance happening that the victim may have caused accidentally, but other times it could result from a recalled product or the negligence of another person. If the latter is the case, please contact Loewy Law Firm for legal assistance!