How to Aid a Choking Person


The chances of you rescuing a choking person are minimal but in case it happens, you should know what to do. Choking is very serious and dangerous. If ignored, it can cost life. The universal sigh of choking is hands clasped to the throat. That should be an enough indicator for you to help the person. However, there are times that the person won’t give any signal.

If the person is not giving any signal but you see him/her struggling, you have to look for other indicators of choking like inability to talk, noisy or difficulty in breathing, loss of consciousness and lips are turning blue. Now that you know that indicator of choking, you have to apply whatever you learned during your first aid sessions. Just a refresher, you should perform the abdominal thrusts or also called the Heimlich maneuver. How to do this?

  1. Stand behind: You have to perform this immediately. Stand behind the victim and put your arms around his/her waist. The person should be slightly slanted forward.


  1. Make fist: Since your hands are wrapped around the victim, your one hand should form like a fist. Put the fist just above the navel of the victim.

  1. Grip the other hand: While the other hand is making a fist, the other should grip it. After gripping the fist, press it had into the victim’s abdomen and with a fast upward thrust. Just imagine that you are trying to lift a person.


  1. Perform five: The upward thrust should be enough to get whatever is dislodged but if there is a need, you should perform total of five thrusts.

If you are the only person in the room with the victim, perform the thrust first before calling the emergency number. If you have other companion, let him/her make the call while you are trying to rescue the choking victim.

If you are trained enough, you might want to apply the “five and five” approach.  The approach includes giving five back blows, five abdominal thrusts and alternate until you have dislodged whatever is blocking. What if the victim becomes unconscious? This is more serious. If you are trained in standard CPR and chest compressions together with rescue breaths, you have to do it right away. You might save his/her life.

It is always best to be careful of the things you put into your mouth. Dislodging it might risk your life and that can be a traumatic experience. Here in Singapore, you can join first aid trainings just to make sure that you know what to do in an event of choking and other accidents.

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