Choking is a term used to define the situation when the flow of air to the lungs is obstructed in some way. It can happen because of something which the person has eaten, or may be some food particle has got stuck in the throat. This can prevent the lungs from getting air, and would result in choking. Read on to find out solutions to choking and what to do if someone is choking.
However, before we go on to provide solutions to the problem of choking, let us see what causes choking.
- It can occur because of the introduction of some kind of foreign article in the airway, which becomes lodged in the pharynx (part of the neck immediately behind the mouth), larynx (voice box) or the trachea (windpipe).
- It can also happen because of some sort of respiratory disease that might prove to be an obstruction for clear passage of air to the lungs.
- Choking can also be a result of the compression of the laryngopharynx, which is the bottom part of the pharynx. It is that part of the throat that connects it to the esophagus (the tube in the throat through which the food passes).
How to Stop Someone From Choking
Now that we know the various causes of choking, let us see what you can do if you find someone choking. Follow these steps:
- First, stand behind the person who is choking and wrap your arms around him/ her.
- Placing your fist with the thumb against the victim's upper abdomen, clasp the other hand over the fist. Make sure that your fist is just above the navel but below the ribs and breastbone, else it can damage the ribs.
- Now, push your fist forcefully towards the abdomen with a quick upward thrust, followed by an inner thrust. What this essentially does is it pushes air from the lungs up to the windpipe, which dislodges the foreign object.
- You can try and repeat the process if it is not successful during the first attempt.
- If you see that the victim has passed out, i.e. has lost consciousness during the process, just hold his tongue with one hand while reaching out with two fingers of your other hand into the back of the throat. In this way, try and remove the foreign object if possible but make sure not to push too much farther down the throat of the victim.
- If you are not able to remove the foreign object, then lay the victim on his back and then straddle him. Keeping the heel of your hand on the abdomen of the person, put the other hand on top of your first hand. Keep the elbows straight and push forcefully with a quick downward and forward thrust. Follow this with several thrusts.
- After you have completed the whole procedure, please, do not forget to get medical attention just to make sure that you did not cause any kind of internal damage to the victim during the process.
- Please keep in mind that if the victim is pregnant or obese, place your fist over the breastbone instead of the abdomen and perform mild upward thrusts.
- If you are alone and choking, then perform these thrusts on yourself. What you can do is you can force the edge of a chair or railing into your abdomen and try and push the air out of your windpipe in this way. But, always be careful not to do any sort of internal damage.