Choking occurs when an object, food, or liquid becomes lodged in the throat. Children often choke as a result of placing foreign objects into their mouths. Adults normally choke due to breathing in fumes or eating or drinking too rapidly. Most people choke at some point in their lives. It is usually short-lived and doesnât pose any real danger. However, choking can be dangerous and cause life-threatening complications.
Know the signs of choking. A person who is choking may cough continuously until the food or liquid is expelled from the throat or airway. However, in some cases the object, food, or liquid becomes lodged in the throat, cutting off the air supply.
A person who is choking may display the following emergency signs:
The person may also have his or her hands crossed over the throat to let you know he or she is choking.
Use the Red Crossâs five-and-five method to treat a person whoâs choking.
To do the Heimlich maneuver, perform the following steps:
If the person is unconscious, clear his or her airway if you see whatâs blocking it. You can do this using your finger. However, be careful not to push the object further into the throat.
Call 911, and then begin CPR. To perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation):
This is called a chest compression. Repeat this process several times as needed.
Do not give a child the five-and-five method. Only give a child the Heimlich maneuver.
Children usually choke when placing objects into their mouths. Children normally do this out of curiosity. However, they may also choke when eating too quickly or when talking with food in their mouths.
Common objects that children choke on include:
Adults usually choke when swallowing food without chewing it properly or when laughing while eating or drinking.
Complications of choking include:
Prevent your child from choking by keeping his or her play area free of small objects, such as coins, erasers, and Lego blocks. Chop your childâs food into small pieces, making it easier for him or her to swallow. Discourage your child from talking while eating.
Prevent yourself from choking by: