Choking

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. It is potentially fatal and quick action should be taken to help someone who is choking. Dr. Edward Hill discusses choking in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. In adults, a piece of food often is the culprit. Young children often swallow small objects. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, administer first aid as quickly as possible.

The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat. If the person doesnt give the signal, look for these indications:

Inability to talk

Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing

Inability to cough forcefully

Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky, and

Loss of consciousness

If choking is occurring, the Red Cross recommends a five-and-five approach to deliver first aid. First, deliver five back blows between the persons shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. Then perform five abdominal thrusts, also known as the Heimlich maneuver. Alternate between these until the blockage is dislodged.

Tomorrow, Ill discuss the Heimlich maneuver and how to perform it.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.