First Aid Treatment for Choking

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The most effective first aid treatment for a choking victim is the Heimlich maneuver, which helps to push the esophagus and trachea upward and expel any obstruction. Perform the Heimlich maneuver properly with helpful information from a public safety chief in this free video on first aid.

Part of the Video Series: First Aid Basics
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Video Transcript

Hello my name is Chip, and I am a paramedic with the state of North Carolina. Today we are going to talk a little bit about how to identify, and treat someone that is choking. For this purposes we are going to talk about an adult that is choking. The universal sign for choking is typically this. It doesn't matter where you are or who you are when you don't get air going to your lungs any more from food or other kind of obstructions you will automatically want to grasp your throat. Another thing it will not make any noise. When your airway is completely blocked air cannot pass by, and cannot allow your vocal chords to do what they need to do so you can speak, and be audible. So what you want to do is you would want to approach the patient that has their hands up in a choking symbol, and you want to identify yourself, "I'm here to help you. Are you choking?" And believe it or not they will often times shake their head yes or they won't be able to respond at all. And what you will want to do is have the person stand or help them stand, put your hands, make a fist, cover your fist right around the belly button area or just above the belt line, and you want to push in and up in rapid thrusts. In and up, and you will continue to do this until the food is expelled or until they go unconscious. Typically what you are doing is when you are pushing in on the abdominal area you are changing the force pressures so it is hopefully going to push more pressure upward, and allow, you only have two openings. You have your esophagus, and you have your trachea one is to the lungs, and one is to the belly, and hopefully you are going to push and allow whatever that obstruction is in the airway to be forced out. When that happens you are going to make sure you have the patient sit back down. Typically they will be coughing quite a bit when that happens, and so you want to make sure that they can breathe okay, and if they vomit they are leaning over so they don't aspirate or sucking that back into their lungs, because that can cause a problem. If the patient is full-termed pregnant you want to make sure you don't push where the baby is. You go up higher around the breast bone area, and you put your hands here, and you do the thrust up here. Never where the full-developed fetus is located on a pregnant female. This is Chip, and I hope you have learned something about choking. Thank you.

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