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Choking (cont.)

The American Red Cross' First Aid Recommendations for Choking

  1. Have someone call 9-1-1.
  2. Obtain consent from the victim.
  3. Lean the person forward and give 5 back blows with the heel of your hand.
  4. Give 5 quick, upward abdominal thrusts.

(NOTE: You can give yourself abdominal thrusts by using your hands, just as you would do to another person, or lean over and press your abdomen against any firm object such as the back of a chair.)

  1. Continue alternating back blows and abdominal thrusts until:
  • The obstructing object is forced out.
  • The person can breathe or cough forcefully.
  • The person becomes unconscious.

What to do next: If the victim becomes unconscious, call 9-1-1, if not already done, and follow the steps for an unconscious choking adult below.

The American Red Cross recommends the following for the unconscious choking adult:

  1. Try 2 rescue breaths. (If available, use protective barrier airway, resuscitation mask or face shield. The American Red Cross recommends that rescue breaths should not be delayed because you do not have a barrier or do not know how to use one).

To give a rescue breath:

  1. Tilt the head and lift the chin, then pinch the nose shut.
  2. Take a breath and make a complete seal over the person's mouth.
  3. Blow in to make the chest clearly rise.

(TIP: Each rescue breath should last about 1 second.)

  1. If breaths do not go in, tilt the head farther back. Try 2 rescue breaths again.
  2. If the chest does not rise - give 30 chest compressions. (TIP: Remove breathing barrier when giving chest compressions.)

To give a chest compression:

  1. Place two hands in center of the chest (on lower half of sternum).
  2. Compress 1-1/2 to 2 inches.
  3. Compress 30 times in about 18 seconds (100 compressions per minute).
  4. Look for an object in the airway.
  5. Remove if one is seen.
  6. Try 2 rescue breaths.
  7. Repeat until EMS responders arrive or the obstruction is removed and the patient begins to breathe on his or her own.

The American Red Cross guidelines for treating choking in infants or babies one year or younger are similar to the guidelines mentioned above for the American Heart Association.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/14/2016

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