Choking is a blockage of the upper airway by food or other objects, which prevents a person from breathing effectively. Choking can cause a simple coughing fit, but complete blockage of the airway may lead to death. Choking is a true medical emergency that requires fast, appropriate action by anyone available. Emergency medical teams may not arrive in time to save a choking person's life.
By Heather Callaghan
Have you ever heard or spoken the tired line of “single-dom” – but if I don't get married, I might choke alone and die and no one will ever find me in my apartment until weeks later… But married people choke too – anyone can and they might be alone.
The method of running into or bending over a couch arm has worked for people, but it doesn't seem fail proof when you think of the abdomen clenching up in anticipation. And, what if there is no furniture; what if you are driving; what if you are too weak to perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself?
This method created by Firefighter/medic Jeff Rehman is the simplest and most effective way to self-perform a life-saving maneuver while choking. It is quick-acting and can be taught to children and elderly.
It can be done anywhere where this is ground beneath you. So no …
Follow-up care is rarely needed if the object blocking the airway is removed quickly. Choking victims who require surgery or who suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen will require more extensive follow-up care. It is best not to do anything if the person is coughing forcefully and not turning a bluish color. Ask, “Are you choking?” If the person is able to answer you by speaking, it is a partial airway obstruction. Stay with the person and encourage him or her to cough until the obstruction is cleared. Do not give the person anything to drink because fluids may take up space needed for the passage of air. Someone who cannot answer by speaking and can only nod the head has a complete airway obstruction and needs emergency help.