Helping A Choking Victim With The Heimlich Maneuver

A person may be choking when food or another object gets stuck in the airway in the throat. The object stops air from getting to the lungs.

Some choking is mild and some is severe. If it’s severe, act fast. Get the object out so the person can breathe.

The choking is mild if…
The person can make sounds or can cough loudly. Stand by and let the person cough.

The choking is severe if…
The person cannot breathe or has a cough that has no sound or cannot talk or make a sound or makes the choking sign (grasping at the throat). Act quickly with the following steps.

If you think someone is choking, ask “Are you choking?” If he nods yes, tell him you are going to help.

The Heimlich Maneuver

Get behind him. Wrap your arms around him so that your hands are in front.

Make a fist with 1 hand.

Put the thumb side of your fist slightly above his belly button and well below the breastbone.

Grasp the fist with your other hand and give quick upward thrusts into his abdomen.

Give thrusts until the object is forced out and he can breathe, cough, or talk.


image source: the American Heart Association

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