Choking can happen when a food bolus or some sort of solid object blocks the airway. The air cannot come in and out of lungs. The victim will not be able to speak.
In adults, food is the most common culprit.
If the choking is partial (some air movement is possible), the victim may speak with a muffled voice.
In either case, the rescuer must act fast.
If the victim is able to cough, encourage them to cough violently.
If that is not helping, perform a Heimlich maneuver.
– Stand behind the victim. Place one foot between the legs of the victim for balance. Wrap your arms around the victim. Ask the victim to bend forward slightly.
– Make a fist with one hand. Place it slightly above the victim’s navel region.
– Grab the fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen quickly, upwards and backwards — as if you are trying to lift the person up.
– Perform between six and 10 abdominal thrusts until the blockage is dislodged or the victim loses consciousness.
Choking in an unconscious victim
As soon as the victim goes unconscious, the BLS sequence (Response, Call EMS and ask for AED, Begin CPR) should start.
Start CPR with one slight modification.
Before every breath (during 30:2 CPR), open the airway and look for any visible object that can be retrieved.
If an object is not visible, continue CPR, NEVER perform a blind finger sweep as it might push the object further deep.