Choking because of an obstructed airway is a leading cause of accidental death. If a choking person is not coughing or is unable to speak, perform the Heimlich maneuver immediately.
– Ask the choking person to stand if he or she is sitting.
– Place yourself slightly behind the standing victim. ( Image a.)
– Reassure the victim that you know the Heimlich maneuver and are going to help.
– Place your arms around the victim’s waist. ( Image b.)
– Make a fist with one hand and place your thumb toward the victim, just above his or her belly button. ( Image c.)
– Grab your fist with your other hand. ( Image d.)
– Deliver five upward squeeze-thrusts into the abdomen. ( Image e.)
– Make each squeeze-thrust strong enough to dislodge a foreign body.
– Understand that your thrusts make the diaphragm move air out of the victim’s lungs, creating a kind of artificial cough.
– Keep a firm grip on the victim, since he or she can lose consciousness and fall to the ground if the Heimlich maneuver is not effective.
– Repeat the Heimlich maneuver until the foreign body is expelled.
– If a victim is coughing strongly or able to talk, let the person try to expel the foreign body using his or her own efforts.
– If the choking victim displays a weak or ineffective cough, this indicates that air exchange is minimal and that you should start the Heimlich maneuver.
– Teach your family the universal choking sign – clutching the throat. Encourage everyone you know to become familiar with this sign and use it when choking.
– To avoid breaking bones, never place your hands on the victim’s breastbone or lower rib cage when performing the Heimlich maneuver.
– This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.