Basic First Aid & CPR Instructions
When an individual chokes, a foreign object can become lodged in their windpipe or throat. This blocks the flow or air and can cut off oxygen to their brain or kill them. So it’s important to act quickly to help them. Signs of choking include clutching at the throat, difficulty breathing or talking, lips, skin and nails turning blue or inability to cough forcefully. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is another technique used in emergencies. For instance, CPR can be used in situations like near drowning or heart attacks.
Help an individual who is choking by alternating between a five-and-five approach and Heimlich maneuver, according to the Mayo Clinic. Use the heel of your hand to deliver five back blows between their shoulder blades. If the object is not dislodged, perform the Heimlich maneuver. Stand behind the individual and reach your arms around their waist. Place your fist with the thumb side toward you just above the person’s navel. Then grab your fist tightly with your other hand. Pull your fist abruptly upward then inward. The thrust should be quick and as if you’re trying to lift the individual up. This will increase the airway pressure to force the object from the windpipe. Try the five back blows again until the object is dislodged. Have someone call 911 while you are performing first aid. If you are alone, try the maneuvers first then call 911.
Apply chest compressions combined with mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing to perform CPR. Remember the ABCs: airway, breathing and circulation, according to the Mayo Clinic. Place the individual on a firm surface on their back. Kneel next to the individual and make sure you’re close to their neck and shoulders. Place your palm on their forehead and gently tilt their head back. With your other hand, lift their chin forward to open the airways. Take five seconds to check for normal breathing. Place your mouth over theirs to make a seal. Pinch the nose and give two rescue breaths. Make sure their chest does rise. Then place the heel of your hand over the person’s chest between the nipples and place your other hand on top of your first hand. Your elbows have to be straight and your shoulders directly above their shoulders. Use your body weight to push straight down about 2 inches on the chest. Give two hard and fast compressions per second. After 30 compressions, give two rescue breaths again.