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Choking first aid - adult or child over 1 year - series - Part 1

  
Part 1

A choking person’s airway may be completely or partially blocked. A complete blockage is an urgent medical emergency. A partial obstruction can quickly become life threatening if the person loses the ability to breathe in and out sufficiently. Without oxygen, permanent brain damage can occur in as little as 4 minutes. Rapid first aid for choking can save a life.

The universal distress signal for choking is grabbing the throat with one or both hands.

DO NOT perform first aid if the person is coughing forcefully and able to speak – a strong cough can dislodge the object on its own.

1. Ask the person:

"Are you choking?"

"Can you speak?"

2. Send someone to call 911 or your local emergency number.



Review Date: 9/28/2011
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, Clinic (7/16/2011).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.


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