What to do if someone is choking?

Reference & EducationEducation

  • Author Lt. Jeff Haughy
  • Published April 18, 2023
  • Word count 624

What to do if someone is choking?

Do you ever seen someone faced choking around you? It’s a terrifying moment when some person struggle these phase. So, what to do if someone is choking?. If you have the skills to solve this problem while it is happening on the spot, you will create a good impression around people.

Although, it’s known for the ordinary and short time serious problems that can occur to anyone, from babies to adults. It happens when an object, food or small toy gets stuck in your throat and blocks the airway, making breathing difficult. As we know, we are alive because of the free oxygen taken from nature. If choking happens over a long minute, it can lead to death. Therefore, it is crucial to take immediate treatment while it is happening.

What causes choking?

When it chokes, the only common reason which comes to our mind is food. But choking happens if cannot chew your food correctly or the large number of objects you put in your mouth. It can occur especially for the elderly and children. We must be more curious while consuming popcorn, nuts, carrot, hot dog, peanuts, grapes and other items. Similarly, food only is not responsible for causing choking. Other choking reasons include an allergic reaction, inedible items, diseases, etc.

Types of choking:

Choking is severe and requires immediate medical attention. There are mainly two types of choking such as mild or partial choking and severe or complete choking. These terms help recognize the problems and know the root cause of choking.

What to do when someone is choking: Step-by-step guide.

Now, this guide will provide the necessary knowledge and step-by-step instructions for someone who is choking. Let’s know the process which you can do in an emergency.

Recognize the Sign of Choking.

Choking can occur suddenly without having accurate symptoms. So, it’s essential to recognize the signs immediately. The typical symptoms of choking are given below:

Difficulty in breathing

Coughing or gagging

Gasping or Wheezing


Clutching their throat or chest

Encourage the person to cough.

While choking, if you encourage the person to cough hard or accurately, it may release that object, food or small toy from his/her throat. Until the medical team arrive, you can motivate them and ask for help around the surrounding because it can also be possible someone has limited knowledge about choking.

  1. Call for Help

If you are alone with someone and don’t know what to do, call emergency medical services (EMS) or dial 911. After they arrive, you can help do possible help with the medical team.

  1. Perform the Heimlich Maneuver ( Abdominal Thrusts)

The Heimlich manoeuvre or Abdominal thrust clears the airway obstruction by applying force or pressure to the abdomen to release the object from the throat. We have some steps for performing the Heimlich manoeuvre:

You must stand behind the person and wrap your arms around their waist.

Make a fist with one hand and keep it just above the person’s navel but below the ribcage.

Grasp your fist with the other hand and press it into the person’s abdomen with an immediate upward thrust.

You can repeat until the object is dislodged or the person becomes unconscious.

If you see the person is unconscious, it’s time to start CPR quickly and give continuity until the Emergency Medical Service ( EMS) arrives.

  1. Provide First Aid

After the object dislodged, first check the person’s breathing and airway. If they have trouble breathing, call 911 for the immediate medical team. Still, if they continue to breathe normally, give first aid as needed. It may include the treatments such as cuts or bruises and monitoring their vital sign and symptoms.

Owner Jeff Haughy has been providing high-quality care in the EMS industry since 1995 and started his Fire Service career with the Alameda Fire Department in 1991 as a Fire Explorer.

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