FAQ Level 3 Award for First Responders on Scene: Emergency First Responder (RQF) FROS® - Online Blended Part 1

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Adult Choking

Video 41 of 218
5 min 10 sec
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Dealing with Choking: Recognizing and Responding

1. Understanding Choking

Choking can be categorized as mild or severe, depending on the extent of airway obstruction.

1.1 Mild Choking

In cases of mild choking, there's partial blockage in the throat, and the person can still cough, breathe heavily, and may even talk. Common examples include throat blockage due to a fishbone. Initial steps involve calming the person and allowing them to cough, but if the obstruction persists, seek medical help as you can't remove the object yourself.

1.2 Severe Choking

Severe choking results from a complete throat blockage, often caused by large food items. The person won't be able to cough and will rapidly deteriorate, necessitating immediate intervention.

2. Recognizing Severe Choking

To identify severe choking:

  • Ask, "Are you choking?" and observe for signs.
  • Signs include hands clutching the throat and difficulty breathing.
  • If the person can't respond verbally, look for non-verbal cues of distress.

3. Performing Life-Saving Procedures

For severe choking, take these critical actions:

3.1 Back Blows

Deliver five back blows between the shoulder blades while ensuring the person leans forward slightly. Watch for the expelled object after each blow.

3.2 Abdominal Thrusts

Perform five abdominal thrusts by placing your thumb side just above the belly button and giving inward and upward thrusts. Alternate with back blows until the obstruction clears or the person loses consciousness.

4. Emergency CPR

If the person loses consciousness, gently lower them to the ground and initiate CPR chest compressions. The trapped air in the lungs may help expel the obstruction as you compress the chest.

5. Special Consideration for Pregnant Individuals

If dealing with choking in a pregnant person, use chest thrusts instead of abdominal thrusts, placing your fists on the middle of the breastbone and performing inward thrusts.