Choking

Choking is the inability of a person to breathe. It is mainly due to the blocking of the trachea as it becomes constricted and shut due to swelling. Choking is dangerous as it cuts off the air supply to lungs and as a result, the victim can die. If not death, it can result in unconsciousness and cardio-respiratory arrest.

Causes

The causes behind choking can be many. It can be caused by some foreign body lodged in the throat. It can even be due to some grave obstruction in the respiratory process. Though anyone can choke, the chances are more in children than adults. There are mainly three important reasons why people choke-

  • Mechanical blockage
  • Swelling of tissues
  • Crushing of trachea

Symptoms

  • Inability to speak or cry out
  • Patient’s face turning blue die to the lack of oxygen
  • Patient becoming desperate and clutching his or her throat
  • Patient having weak cough and heavy breathing with loud noise
  • Unconsciousness
  • While sleeping, the person having the sequences of gasping, breathing pauses and abrupt awakenings in between

Treatment

The treatment of choking depends upon its different situations-

Conscious Victim

  • First of all, ask the patient, “Are you feeling choked?”
  • If the patient can speak, can cough or take a breath, things are normal.
  • If the victim is not able to speak or breathe or cough, you can give him subdiaphragmatic abdominal thrusts till the foreign body is discharged or the victim becomes lifeless.
  • To the extreme obese or heavily pregnant ladies, the best treatment is to give chest thrusts. Stand behind them and keep the thumb of the left fist in the middle of the breastbone. Grab the fist using your right hand. Press the chest about four times speedily.
  • You should be persistent.
  • Carry on being uninterrupted till the obstruction is eased out.
  • The victim must be examined by the physician as quickly it is possible.
  • You should reach around to the waist of the victim. You can position one clench fist higher than navel and under the rib cage.
  • You should hold the fist with the other hand. Pull out the clasped fist acutely and straight away upwards and backward, under the rib cage about six to ten times.
  • Continue giving the help till the patient feels relieved or he or she gets the advanced life support.

Unconscious Victim

  • Place the patient on the support of his or her back with arms lying side by side.
  • Call loud asking for help or call 911.
  • Perform the tongue-jaw lift and sweep the finger to make attempt to take off the foreign body.
  • Open the air duct by tilting the head or lifting the chin and try to save breathing.
  • If you are not successful in the first attempt, give six to ten sub-diaphragmatic abdominal thrusts.
  • Repeat the whole above-mentioned sequence. Perform the finger swing and open the airway. Give abdominal thrusts to save breathing till you become successful.
  • Be calm, determinant and persistent. Get the victim thoroughly examined by the doctor quickly.

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