Choking, it can be a panic stricken situation but here is some first aid information to help you stay calm and provide first aid when choking occurs.
Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. In adults, a piece of food often is the culprit. Young children often swallow small objects. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, administer first aid as quickly as possible.
- Inability to talk
- Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
- Inability to cough forcefully
- Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky
- Loss of consciousness
- Flared nostrils
Provide first aid to a choking infant from a sitting position, place the infant face-down in your forearm or across your upper legs. A child over 1 year old or an adult should be encouraged to bend forward.
If choking is occurring, provide the following first aid treatment:
- Call 000 for an ambulance – this can always be cancelled if first aid is successful
- Give 5 back blows. Deliver five back blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand in an upward motion.
- Recheck airway after each back blow for signs of the foreign material or breathing.
- If unsuccessful give up to 5 chest thrusts (same as CPR compressions just sharper and slower). Recheck airway
- If still unsuccessful commence CPR until the ambulance arrives.
This choking first aid instruction does not replace a quality first aid course. If your first aid certificate has expired then contact us to book you into a first aid course now. Call 1300 136 158 or book a CPR course online here.