In emergency situations, knowing how to act quickly and efficiently can make the difference between saving a life or facing serious consequences. One of the most common scenarios is choking, where a person has difficulty breathing due to airway obstruction.
In this post, we will provide you with vital information on first aid for choking. Don’t miss it!
Recognising the signs of choking
It is essential to recognise the signs of choking so that effective action can be taken. Some of the symptoms include persistent and violent coughing, slurred speech, noisy and labored breathing, and a bluish discolouration of the lips and face. If a person shows these signs and is unable to speak or breathe properly, immediate action is needed to clear the airway and prevent serious complications.
Choking first aid procedures
In a case of choking, it is crucial to follow the right procedure. Here are the key steps:
- Assess the severity of the obstruction: Determine if the person is able to cough or speak. If so, encourage the person to continue coughing to expel the stuck object. If the person is unable to cough, speak or breathe, proceed to the next step.
- Perform the Heimlich manoeuvre: Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around their abdomen. With one fist clenched, place your thumb just above the navel and your other hand over the fist. Perform a quick, inward squeeze, using adequate force to dislodge the stuck object. Repeat this manoeuvre until the object is expelled or the person regains the ability to breathe.
- In case the person loses consciousness: If the person faints, carefully place him/her on the ground and call the emergency services. Start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if there is no sign of breathing or pulse.
Performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a vital technique that may be necessary in emergency situations, such as when a person stops breathing or their heart stops beating. Here are the basic steps for performing CPR:
- Check the safety of the environment: Before starting CPR, make sure that both you and the person in need are out of danger. If necessary, move the person to a safe place.
- Assess response: Make sure the person is unconscious and unresponsive to verbal or physical stimuli. Call for help from someone nearby and request access to an automated external defibrillator (AED), if available.
- Call emergency services: If the person is unresponsive and not breathing normally, call emergency services immediately or ask someone else to do so.
- Compress the chest: Place the palms of your hands on the centre of the person’s chest, over the breastbone. Interlock the fingers of both hands and be sure to keep your elbows straight. Compress the chest forcefully and at a rate of at least 100-120 compressions per minute. Allow the chest to rise completely after each compression.
- Perform rescue ventilations: After 30 compressions, tilt the person’s head back slightly and gently lift the chin to open the airway. Cover the person’s nose with your mouth and give two slow, effective breaths. Observe if the person’s chest rises with each breath.
- Continue with cycles of compressions and ventilations: Alternate between 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths. Continue this cycle until medical help arrives or the person shows signs of life.
Remember that these steps are a basic guide and it is important to receive proper CPR training to be effective in emergency situations.
Importance of knowing first aid for choking
Knowing how to act in choking situations is essential, as a quick response can save lives. In many cases, choking can occur at home, in restaurants or in any public place. Having a basic knowledge of choking first aid makes us prepared to provide immediate assistance in critical moments.
At Palm Mar Medical Center we understand the importance of first aid preparedness, especially in choking situations. Being informed and trained to act appropriately in the event of an emergency can make the difference between saving a life and facing serious consequences. Remember that it is always advisable to be trained in first aid and to remain calm in emergency situations. Together, we can contribute to the safety and well-being of our community.