Helping Someone Who Is Choking?

Tips for helping you are or someone else who is choking. Post your ideas.


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February 7, 20050 found this helpful

I was home alone and had a ham sandwich for lunch--and I choked on the ham--with quick thinking I grabbed a regular straw and put it in mouth and pushed the ham down. I feel this saved my life.

By Cup H. - Jerusalem, Ohio

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February 7, 20050 found this helpful

The best way to help someone choking is to know the Heimlich maneuver. Check for first aid training in your area. The Heimlich is usually included in the curriculum. DO NOT pat the choking victim on the back--it can actually lodge whatever they're choking on even further into their throat.


Here is a website with directions and diagrams, but I would still recommend taking a first aid course.


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February 7, 20050 found this helpful

You are very lucky. Do you realize that by doing what you did you could have damaged your windpipe/esophagus badly? Like calnorth61 said, find some first aid trining in the heimich maneuver. If you are on your own, try placing your fist just above your belly button and using your other hand, jerk quickly in and up. If this doesn't work after 2 tries, you can position yourself with your diaphram up against a table and drop onto the edge of the table. I would also suggest that you call 9-1-1 before you try the table maneuver because it doesn't take long for a person to lose consciousness when there is a lack of oxygen. Please, PLEASE get some first aid training and have your family go with you. You'll be surprised at how much you and they will learn.

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February 7, 20050 found this helpful

The Heimlich manoeuvre is no longer recommended by St Johns Ambulance in Australia and the Australian govt as first aid for choking - I assume because the Heimlich is a difficult manoeuvre for the inexperienced to perform effectively and safely - its not as easy as it appears on the TV! In Australia recommended first aid for choking is encourage to cough, then 4 firm back slaps and check for response, (in a child they should be head down across your knee), followed by lateral chest thrusts, on one side with the person in the recovery position for an adult and on both sides, below the armpits, for children and fully obstructed babies.


These work on the same principle as the Heimlich mnaoeuvre - forcing the remaining air in the lungs up the 'windpipe' to dislodge the blockage out of the airway. It is highly unlikely they will force something 'further into the throat' but are safer than amateurs thrusting below the rib cage where they could rupture the stomach, liver and spleen.

The most important thing is to prevent choking - in adults, cut food and chew properly - in kids avoid small toys and don't feed chunks or sticks of raw vegetables or other foods to very small children.



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February 7, 20050 found this helpful

Regarding the tip for the person who is choking.

NEVER, NEVER stick anything down your throat to try to dislodge an object stuck in your throat. A lot of damage can be done by doing this. Thankfully the person who posted the tip didn't sustain any injury but she was very lucky.


If you are ever choking, try coughing really hard. As long as you can cough, you are getting air. Once you can no longer cough, you have to act quickly.

1. Place a fist just above your belly button with the thumb against your body.

2. Using your other hand, push up and quickly on your fist. This puts pressure on your diaphram and will hopefully dislodge the object.

3. If this doesn't work after 2 attempts, call 9-1-1 and then try positioning yourself at the edge of the table with your diaphram directly above the edge and dropping onto the table. This may apply more force to the diabphram to dislodge the object.

4. It doesn't take long to lose consciousness once air is toally blocked so calling 9-1-1 as quickly as you can is the best thing you can do. Even if you do dislodge the object, you should be checked out to make sure you have not done any damage to your ribs, esophagus or diaphram.


THE BEST THING TO DO - GET SOME FIRST AID TRAINING!!!! In the United States, check with the Red Cross, In Canada, check with St. John Ambulance or the Red Cross.

Darlene in Mississauga

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February 7, 20050 found this helpful

I too was home alone and got a piece of sandwich stuck in my throat. I leaned over the kitchen sink and thrust my body up against it. By doing that I gave myself the Heimlich maneuver and dislodged the obstruction. I had just heard to do this about two days before. You can also use a chair back.

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By Guest (Guest Post)
April 20, 20050 found this helpful

My personal opinion is that if you are with someone, the Heimlich Maneuver should be used only as a last resort - when other measures have failed. You wouldn't blow out a match with a fire extinguisher - why use Heimlich when a couple of blows to the back will do the trick. Furthermore, the presence of coughing does not necessarily indicate that all is well.


You know if you need help. If you are with someone who is having difficulty, simply ask "Do you need help?" If the response in any way indicates a "yes", give a couple of blows to the back to see if that helps. There is less risk of damage to ribs and internal organs.

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By Mamabear0921 (Guest Post)
August 9, 20050 found this helpful

You should NEVER give anyone who is choking blows to the back unless they are under 1 years of age. By doing this, you are possibly forcing the lodged object down the windpipe further. If the Heimlich is performed properly there should be no internal damage done the victim; however they may vomit from lack of oxygen. I know it is a natural reaction to pat the back but this could cause more damage than performing the Heimlich would.

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By Nikki (Guest Post)
September 4, 20050 found this helpful

What if the himlec manuevr doesnt work though? then what should you do...

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October 14, 20050 found this helpful

The most important thing is this:

First make a correct diagnosis.

Be sure the airway is obstructed. When the airway is obstucted, no air can move through it, so the person should not be able to cough or talk. They will usually grab their neck, right in the middle, with one hand. You must ask first, "Are you OK? Can you breathe?", before you do anything to them. Ask if you can do a Heimlich maneuver. Call 911 for help.

If doing the maneuver from behind standing, or with the person sitting (you may have to do it more than once to get it right) is not effective, try with them laying on their back, and you sitting astride.

If none of this works, and you have no help, eventually they will pass out. Roll them on their right side and carefully check the mouth, throat for anything in the way, being careful not to push anything in front of your fingers.
If you deliver blows to the back, lay them face down over a chair or table so the chest is hanging down a bit. With children and infants, use back blows only, and be gentle.

Many do not recommend the Heimlich maneuver, because if you are too forceful or not in the right place, you can rupture the liver or spleen. That's why it's good to have training (CPR has it). If there is truly an airway block and help is on the way, a Heimlich that opens an airway is more important than a liver rupture.


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By Adam (Guest Post)
April 7, 20060 found this helpful

If someone is choking on a sweet or something you can also use a method where you rub their stomach and make then drink a lot of water! Make sure they first to see if they can breath through their nose! Also, make sure they ae calm (especially with small children who will panic) Then after drinking the water it will eventually all come up and push the sweet etc. out. But be careful! You have to have room for the water to go down and also this more then likely will not work with meat etc.

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February 27, 20100 found this helpful

If the Heimlich does not work then call 911 (in the U.S).

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December 31, 2012

If someone is choking should you give them water? If so, why is it a good idea or why is it a bad idea?

By Hailie


January 1, 20130 found this helpful

No, do not give water as this can make matters worse. First ask the person something to determine if they can talk. If they can speak or cough, the airway is not blocked and a slap on the back between the shoulder blades may dislodge the object.

If they cannot speak, but only nod their head, the airway may be blocked. The best thing to do at this point is the Heimlich maneuver.
Here is a URL for the Heimlich

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