Choking is not an ordinary condition especially when you inappropriately swallow your food or lie down improperly. Choking also occurs when there is insufficient amount of oxygen or when there is an undesirable saturation of unwanted air borne elements such as gas, fumes or harmful chemicals that prohibit inhalation. Choking is described as a condition that obstructs the normal flow of air into the lungs and oxygenated blood to vital organs. In this article, you will learn how to provide effective and proper choking first aid.
There are three possible causes of choking. It could either be caused by strangulation or laryngopharynx compression, respiratory disease or the presence of foreign objects along the air way. Whatever the cause, make sure you know the right things to do in dealing with choking emergencies. The first thing you need to do in giving choking first aid is to identify the gravity of the condition. A choked person usually wraps his hands around his neck, an indication that the patient is experiencing breathing difficulty.
In some cases, patients who are experiencing choking may also be afraid of putting their hands on their throat. So look for other signs of choking like difficulty of speaking, unconsciousness, bluish discoloration of the finger nails both in the hands and in the feet, loud breathing and heavy coughing. Unconsciousness is not a good sign of a person getting choked, so be very prompt in giving choking first aid.
Immediately ask someone to call 911 or the nearest emergency unit for assistance in bringing the patient to the hospital. If you are alone, however, the best thing that you should do by this time is to give the patient a Heimlich maneuver before bringing the patient to the hospital.
The Heimlich maneuver is an important aspect of giving choking first aid. Make sure to stand on the back of the patient. Then using your fist, place it below the patients ribcage then press it deeply and upwards as if you are lifting him. This maneuver will facilitate the patient in coughing out or releasing the foreign object. Repeat the whole process until the patient has dislodged the obstructive object. The same choking first aid method can be done on children.
A very common misleading practice and misconception about administering choking first aid is the use of a fore finger in sweeping the mouth or near the throat. This practice is said to be dangerous as it will only lodge the object farther. When gagging has become severe, rush the patient to the hospital the soonest.