How to help a choking victim


How to help a choking victim

  • Jan 31, 2017

You and a friend are eating lunch together. All of sudden you see your friend grab her throat - a panicked look spreads across her face as she starts to turn purple. You quickly realize your friend is choking. 17107 What is choking? Choking is caused when food or some other object blocks a person's airway and prevents them from breathing. Choking can occur very suddenly in patients of any age. If not rapidly treated, choking quickly leads to death. Signs of choking

  • Universal choking sign (grabbing or pointing at the throat)
  • Inability to speak
  • Inability to cough
  • Face changing color
  • A panicked look
How can I help?
  • Send someone to call 9-1-1
  • Take steps to get the object out:
  1. Stand behind the victim and bend them down at the waist so they are staring at the ground.
  2. Using the heel of your hand, hit them hard on the back between the shoulder blades 5 times.
  3. Then, have the victim stand straight up and position yourself behind her.1098-2
  4. Wrap your arms around the victim's abdomen. Make a fist with one hand and place it in the center of her abdomen just above the belly button and beneath the breast bone. Grab your fist with your other hand and give forceful inward & upward thrusts into the abdomen 5 times
    • Repeat as needed until the object comes out, and the patient can speak, breathe or cough or until she becomes unresponsive.
  • If she becomes unresponsive ->Make sure 9-1-1 is on the way and begin CPR.
Note: If a patient is able to cough forcefully and move air, don't touch them! Encourage them to cough and call 9-1-1 if needed.

For more details, and to learn and practice choking relief and CPR, sign up for a class today!


Note: The outline above is not a substitute for formal CPR instruction. Please visit for more information on taking a full CPR class.