Choking implies that a person stops breathing as a result of blockage of the throat. Choking may result into partial or complete blockage of the airway. The common cause of choking to the elderly people is food whereas to children it generally results from swallowing of small objects which get stuck in the throat.
The discussion below relates to children who are more than one year old and adults.
Assessment of the situation
Before giving any assistance to the choking person, it’s better to know his or her approximate age. Precisely, decide whether the person is an adult, a child but more than a year old or a baby below one year. Next, assess the seriousness of the situation.
Mild choking in adults and children over one year old
How to help with mild choking
Encourage the person to continue coughing in bid to try and clear the blockage.
Use your first two fingers to remove blockage from the victim’s mouth. The thumb will help in grasping the object.
Stay alert to help in case the airway fully blocks thereby making the choking severe.
Cases of severe choking
In a situation where there is severe choking, usually the victim will not talk, cry, cough or even breathe. The person will finally become unconscious if there will be no help.
What to do
Put the choking person in front as you stand from behind.
Let one hand support the choking person’s chest as you lean him/her forward so as to enable the object blocking the airway come out.
Slap the person in between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
Make a stop in between the slaps to check whether the airway has cleared. If the victim does not respond, try the use of abdominal thrusts stopping after each thrust to inspect if the blockage is cleared.
Repeat the above process three times and if the blockage does not come out, call for help. In the meantime as you wait for assistance, continue giving the thrusts and blows in turns.
In case you realize that the person does not breathe and are trained, start rescue breathes and external chest compressions commonly referred to as CPR.