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Choking (cont.)

Choking Symptoms

If an adult is choking, you may observe the following behaviors:

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Hand signals and panic (sometimes pointing to the throat)
  • Sudden inability to talk
  • Clutching the throat: The natural response to choking is to grab the throat with one or both hands. This is the universal choking sign and a way of telling people around you that you are choking.
  • Wheezing
  • Passing out
  • Turning blue: Cyanosis, a blue coloring to the skin, can be seen earliest around the face, lips, and fingernail beds. You may see this, but other critical choking signs would appear first.
  • If an infant is choking, more attention must be paid to an infant's behavior. They cannot be taught the universal choking sign.
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Weak cry, weak cough, or both
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/23/2014

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