How to react to a choking

Lifevac anti choking, how to react to a choking.

How should you react to a choking?


When the brain does not receive oxygen for more than four minutes, permanent brain damage and, in the worst cases, death can occur. Knowing how to act in the presence of someone who is drowning, whether due to the obstruction of some food or other element, is crucial.

First of all, you should know that if the person who is choking has some difficulty breathing but can still speak or has a strong cough, it is best to do nothing, not even hit the back as is usually done.

The cough itself already works as a mechanism for expelling the obstructing element. However, when there is a major choking, in which the person has obvious difficulties in breathing, it is best to act quickly and carry out first aid techniques.

Types of first aid in case of choking

There are a series of first aid techniques that you must carry out in the event of a choking. We describe them below:

Heimlich maneuver

This maneuver is one of the best known and one of the main reactions when someone is choking. This technique can be used while the person is lying down, sitting, or standing.

If the victim is conscious and sitting or standing, get behind her and wrap your arms around her waist. Place the thumb side of the fist in the center of the abdomen, just below the lower end of the sternum and grasp it with your other hand. Press in with quick upward compressions and repeat until the object is coughed out or the person begins to breathe or cough.

Jaw thrust and tongue lift

This is another of the first aid techniques in case of choking. Sometimes, the lack of oxygen can make you lose consciousness. If this is the case and the victim is unconscious, lay them face up on the floor and try performing the jaw thrust and tongue lift technique. To do this, open the mouth with your thumb pressing the tongue: this will prevent the tongue from moving away from the back of the throat and we can clear the airways. If we can see the object causing the choking, we should try to remove it whenever possible. Above all, be careful, as you could push the object further down and cause another obstruction.

If they are still not breathing, gently tilt the victim's head back and lift their chin up. Then you will have to proceed with assisted breathing, or as it is colloquially known, mouth-to-mouth. Place your mouth over the victim's, squeeze the nose closed with your fingers, and take two slow breaths of air lasting one and a half to two seconds each to fill the lungs. Next, place the heel of one of your hands on the midline between the victim's belly button and ribcage, then place your other hand on top of the first. Next, press firmly but gently on the abdomen and give six to ten quick inward and upward thrusts.

Repeat steps until victim is breathing again or emergency help arrives.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

CPR is another first aid procedure that should only be used when the victim has no pulse, indicating that their heart has stopped beating. CPR involves compression of the chest by pressing the heel of the hand on the lower half of the sternum. These compressions should be delivered over a period of approximately four seconds in groups of five, followed by a mouth-to-mouth mouth-to-mouth puff of gentle air. This technique can help keep the victim breathing and blood circulating until emergency help arrives.

This technique, however, must be performed by someone who has received specific training. That is why it is so important to train to know how to act in an emergency and guarantee a cardioprotected environment. It is important to remember that while these techniques can save lives, they are NOT a substitute for a certified first aid course or proper training that will teach you mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR.

At Neosalus we have the LifeVac, an emergency kit designed to act quickly in the event of choking that, through suction, releases an obstruction in the victim's airway when the choking protocol has been unsuccessfully followed. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us, and remember: your knowledge in first aid is key when faced with choking!