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Choking (cont.)

Choking Treatment

Choking Self-Care at Home

Choking is an emergency. Call 911 emergency medical services. Do not attempt to drive a choking person to a hospital emergency department.

What to do if a person starts to choke:

  • 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.

The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association each have a recommended protocol to deal with airway obstruction. Both of these protocols are described in the following section.

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