Choking or Unconscious? Try these First-Aid Tips
Choking and unconscious First-Aid Tips are as important as previously illustrated in the first part of this series we all agree everyone must have.
Furthering our knowledge in a health emergency situation, we will highlight two important first-aid tips in the continuation of our series.
Do you have a choking or an unconscious person around?
There are a few things you can do and panic is not one of them, relax, call 911 and follow the tips shared below to help a choking or unconscious person survive till professional help arrives.
For an unconscious person? Try this
When a person seems to be asleep and does not respond to stimuli; we can say safely that person is unconscious. An unconscious person may not be breathing and the pulse may be faint. When unconscious, a person cannot respond to being called, tapped or shaken.
You can manage the situation if you identify a person is about to be unconscious with some telltale sings such as:
- Slurred speech
- Inability to respond to being called
- A state of disorientation/confusion
- Increased pulse rate
- dizzy spell
First-Aid Administration on an unconscious person
Once an unconscious person is identified, quickly ensure they are still breathing, if not, begin CPR after ensuring a call to a professional is being made.
If the person is breathing, clear their airway to decrease the risk of choking by getting them into a sitting position. Then:
- Kneel in position next to the person on the floor
- Form a right angle by taking the arm closest to your body and place it perpendicular to their body facing upward.
- Place the back of their hand pressed against the cheek closest to you and hold.
- Use your free hand to bend the knee furthest from you so their foot is flat on the floor
- While making sure that their top arm is still supporting their head, roll the person over to the side by pulling on the bent knee
- The airway should be open when you tilt the head of the person back; chin lifted with no obstruction, keep the person upright and observe till help comes.
If the person is bleeding heavily;
Find the source of the injury and apply pressure or apply a tourniquet to reduce the bleeding.
Once the injury is not on the head, elevate the person’s body region up while maintaining the applied pressure to avoid dizziness and unconsciousness.
Have a choking person around? Try the Heimlich Maneuver
The Heimlich Maneuver technique helps force the lungs to compress and raise the diaphragm in order to relief the chest of any object lodged there. A cough from the chest of a choking person can dislodge an object out of the airway.
Some telltale signs a person is choking
Let’s look at a few of the most obvious signs that a person is choking to avoid breaking a rib or sternum on a futile Heimlich maneuver.
- Have their nails, Skin and/or lips turning blue or greyish
- Have their hands clutching the throat
- Inability to talk
- Bright red or bluish face
Now, you can go ahead with your first aid administration on a choking person; Heimlich Maneuver. Which is simply abdominal thrusts performed on a choking person.
- Ensure to call for assistance or have someone else within the vicinity call for professional help.
- With your legs apart whilst standing behind the person, wrap your hand around the abdomen just above the navel.
- Make a fist with one hand and wrap the fist with the palm of your other hand.
- Then, perform 5 Heimlich Maneuver with quick in/outward thrusts on the abdomen
- if the same person goes unconscious after the administration of the above steps, promptly administer the First-Aid Tip discussed here; CPR.
Some specific body type may require a different and higher hand placement in order to achieve the right pressure during the abdominal thrusts.
For a pregnant woman or an obese choking person
Using the description above; place your hands slightly above the normal described position above the abdomen.
Commence with the Heimlich Maneuver shoving your fist inward and outward quickly.
This process can be repeated a few times more till the item is dislodged and the person is relieved.
In case you are alone and choking, try to cough really hard and consistently to clear the object.
When this doesn’t work, give yourself abdominal thrusts by pressing your abdomen hard and fast onto a firm object such as a rail, the back of a chair or a counter top.
Brace your fists between the chair and abdomen and drive your body against the surface
Heimlich Maneuver on a choking infant
Gently hold the baby one knee while sitting or on the forearm of one hand if standing.
With the head and jaw supported with the hand of the same forearm, ensure the head is tilted forward slightly lower than the feet.
Using the heel of your free hand, administer up to 5 push blows to the middle of the baby’s back to dislodge any item blocking the airway.
Incase this does not work, switch the infant to face upwards and use 2 fingers of your free hand to apply chest thrusts on the lower half of his/her breastbone.
Make sure to keep your fingers from putting pressure at the bottom or side of the baby’s breastbone to avoid breaking it.
You can watch a real life example and perfect your Heimlich Maneuver with a friend here.