Choking is a blockage of the upper airway by food or other objects, which prevents a person from breathing effectively. Choking can cause a simple coughing fit, but complete blockage of the airway may lead to death.

Choking is caused when a piece of food or other object gets stuck in the upper airway. In adults, choking most often occurs when food is not chewed properly. Talking or laughing while eating may cause a piece of food to "go down the wrong pipe”. In children, choking is often caused by chewing food incompletely, attempting to eat large pieces of food or too much food at one time, or eating hard candy. Children also put small objects in their mouths, which may become lodged in their throat. Nuts, pins, marbles, or coins, for example, create a choking hazard.

Mild choking: encourage them to cough: If the airway is only partly blocked, the person will usually be able to speak, cry, cough or breathe. They'll usually be able to clear the blockage themselves.

To help with mild choking in an adult or child over 1 year old:

encourage them to keep coughing to try to clear the blockage
ask them to try to spit out the object if it's in their mouth
don't put your fingers in their mouth to help them as they may bite you accidentally
If coughing doesn't work, start back blows.

Severe choking: back blows and abdominal thrusts: Where choking is severe, the person won't be able to speak, cry, cough or breathe. Without help, they'll eventually become unconscious.

To carry out a back blow on an adult or child over 1 year old:

Stand behind them and slightly to one side. Support their chest with 1 hand. Lean them forward so the object blocking their airway              will come out of their mouth, rather than moving further down.
Give up to 5 sharp blows between their shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. The heel between the palm of the hand and wrist.
Check if the blockage has cleared.
If not, give up to 5 abdominal thrusts.

Abdominal Thrust: 

Stand behind the person who's choking.
Place arms around their waist and bend them forward.
Clench 1 fist and place it right above their belly button.
Put the other hand on top of the fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards.
Repeat this movement up to 5 times.

Note: Don't give abdominal thrusts to babies under 1 year old or pregnant women. Abdominal thrusts can cause serious injuries. A health professional should always examine someone after they have received abdominal thrusts.

Get urgent medical help:

they have a persistent cough after choking
they feel something is still stuck in their throat

Need more advice or treatment? Many health care experts at antarnaad are always here to help you out. Antarnaad is a growing network of experienced physiotherapists, providing treatment for all the conditions. For more information visit our website or call our Consultant: Mb: 9899700187