choking
Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

Survival Skills 01: How to Rescue a Choking Person

Skip intro if the person is choking right now. 

It could happen anywhere and to virtually anyone. You’re with a friend, business colleague, family member, or even a coursemate. You’re both enjoying a nice meal when all of a sudden, the other person drops their spoon or fork. Their face starts turning red, and they look like they’re in great discomfort. You don’t understand what’s happening at first, but suddenly, you realize that they’re choking. Of course, you can call for help, but they might not get there fast enough. It’s up to you to save your friend who is choking so that they do not lose their life.

How to Rescue a Choking Person

1. Give them blows at the back

back blows for someone who is choking

Image Source: Very Well Health

Do not be too violent. Simply use the heel of your palm to hit them firmly between their shoulder blades. Anything between 5-7 blows should do the trick.

2. Do the Heimlich maneuver

heimlich maneuvre

Image Source: Very Well Health

It is possible that the first step might not work. So, the next best thing to do is to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Follow these steps to get it done.

  • Position yourself behind the person with your feet planted for balance and wrap your arms around their waist. Don’t be afraid to close the distance between you two.
  • Clench one fist and place it above their belly button and use your other hand to grab your fist.
  • Perform abdominal thrusts by pulling inward and upward multiple times as if you’re trying to lift them off the ground.
  • If it doesn’t work, start switching between back blows and abdominal thrusts until the person starts coughing, breathing, or the object comes out.
  • Take out the object from their mouth if you can see it.
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For pregnant or obese people, 

  • Position yourself behind them with your hands beneath the breast bone. Especially if the person is pregnant, you want to be very careful not to squeeze their stomach. So, ensure that your hands are just under the breast bone and you’re applying as little force and pressure as possible to the lady’s belly.
  • Perform abdominal thrusts until the object comes out.

3. Perform CPR, if necessary

The only circumstance where CPR becomes necessary is if the person still cannot breathe after removing the object or if they pass out. Under those circumstances, if an ambulance hasn’t arrived yet, you need to perform CPR.

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