Updated: Apr 19, 2019

I think we all need a reminder of what to do in an emergency situation like when someone is choking, because we need to feel more comfortable with how to react so that we would be less likely to panic. I wasn't going to comment on it since we have all read about what to do in circumstances like this, however, then I got to thinking, what if it helps save one person by talking about it one more time, so I just had too.

It can be scary to jump in and help when no one else seems willing. According to the Red Cross, the more people who are present in a first aid emergency, the less likely an individual is to take action and help. But the reality is, 90% of lives in an emergency are saved by people already nearby during a crisis, In emergencies, these bystanders are often the first to act before a professional first responder arrives on the scene. “We know that performing first aid and CPR saves lives, and it’s one of the easiest ways to be prepared to help,” said Dr. Mugurel Valentin Bazavan, a cardiologist at Advocate Health Care. “A choking person could be unconscious in less than five minutes without air, leading to potentially fatal consequences. But CPR can double or triple that person’s chances of survival after cardiac arrest.”

The National Safety Council reports choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death. A choking emergency can vary in how it looks, but if the person doesn’t give the universal choking signal, look for these signs that indicate their immediate need for help:

· Inability to talk

· Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing

· Squeaky sounds when trying to breathe

· Cough, which may either be weak or forceful

· Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky

· Skin that is flushed, then turns pale or bluish in color

· Loss of consciousness

Here’s a quick guide to performing abdominal thrusts on a choking person, as indicated by the Heimlich maneuver:

· Stand behind the person. Place one foot slightly in front of the other for balance. Wrap your arms around the waist. Tip the person forward slightly. If a child is choking, kneel down behind the child.

· Make a fist with one hand. Position it slightly above the person’s navel.

· Grasp your fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust — as if trying to lift the person up.

· Perform between six and 10 abdominal thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.

But here’s the thing: when you have mere seconds, this can still be a lifesaving act – even if it’s not performed 100 percent perfectly.

Excerpts from: Health enews – Advocate Aurora Health By: Katie Wilkes

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