A month ago, I experienced severe choking for the first time in my life and trust me, it’s something no one wishes to try. I was having a piece of brown toast when our cousin said something funny and all of a sudden I found myself choking and unable to breath. The worst thing was that none in the room noticed for the first few seconds but then even when they did, none knew what to be done.Thanks God I managed to help myself cough and remove what was stuck in my throat.
When everything settled down and I gave it a second thought, the only thing that came to my mind was my babies; what if they choked someday with someone who knows nothing about it? What if they choked someday when they’re alone playing with their toys? What if… What if… What if… and that’s why I decided to write this informative post today maybe I could help in raising awareness.
Choking is an emergency that may cause rapid death if it wasn’t treated correctly. It is when someone is unable to breathe due to something blocking his/her trachea. It may happen to anyone as a result of swallowing a poorly chewed bite, drinking water or alcohol while eating, wearing dentures, eating while talking, laughing, walking or running.
A person can be known choking when he/she starts coughing, moving hands as signals, inability to talk, catching his/her throat with both hands (which is the universal choking sign), looking breathless, passing out or turning blue. In infants or babies, more attention should be paid as they can’t be taught the choking sign and you can only notice them choking when they’re having a weak cough or cry or through their eyes.
Choking can be of 2 types: Minor choking & severe one.
In the case of minor choking, a person’s trachea will be half blocked which means air will still be able to pass and the person will still be able to cough, cry or talk. At this stage, all you need to do is encourage them to cough in order to clear the obstacle. You can also ask them to spit the object in case it was in their mouth. No matter what, never try using your finger to help remove the object as this may cause more danger and help the object go further and block the whole throat.
In case of severe choking, a person’s trachea will be fully blocked and he/she won’t be able to speak, cough, cry or breathe. So in such a case, you need to start back blows and abdominal thrusts.
How to perform a back blow?
You should stand slightly back side of the choking person, bend him/her forward, support their chest with one hand and strike them between their shoulders by the heel of your other hand. You can repeat this 5 times. If the blockage is still there then you have to move to performing abdominal thrusts.
How to perform abdominal thrusts?
You should stand slightly behind the person choking, wrap him/her with both hands then place one fist just above the belly button and wrap it with your other hand and start pressing inwards and upwards at the same time. This can also be repeated 5 times and if the blockage is still there you need to call an ambulance (998 in UAE). While waiting for help, keep on performing above steps 5 times each until the ambulance arrives.
Please keep in mind that abdominal thrusts can’t be performed to a pregnant woman, and both back blows and abdominal thrusts can’t be done for babies under 1 year old. Also make sure to see your doctor after having abdominal thrusts as this may cause serious injuries but hey think about it, your life was saved.
So mommies, daddies, nannies or whoever is reading my post, please take care of the babies you’re supervising. You never know what a child puts in his mouth as they tend to explore things their way. Also take care when they eat or drink and always use their utensils (my 15 months old son loves drinking water in a normal cup but I always give him his bottle instead even if he cries). Always keep them seated when having their meals, cut and mash their food in a way that’s safe and offer them convenient snacks that match their age group.
In my opinion, everyone should know at least the basic first aid procedure or what should be done at certain situations. It’s not like you need to spend a fortune on that, the basic first aid procedure is accessible for everyone on Google and YouTube.
Please note that all above information was out of my own knowledge as I’ve taken a first aid course and below is my certificate but please make sure to ask an expert as well.