According to medical news today, choking is the leading cause of death among infants and the fourth leading cause of death among preschool children.
It is common among children aged 1 to 3, and also among the elderly people who are above 60 years of age. It can happen to anybody if we do not carefully eat our food.
However, infants and preschool children may be choked by inhaling other substances like toys, stones,candies, chewing gums and nuts.
What Causes Choking?
The throat has two pipes, the esophagus and the windpipe. Food passes through the esophagus while air passes through the windpipe.
Swallowing is a process involving the tongue and involuntary muscular movements in the esophagus that pushes the food down the throat. A small flap of cartilage called the epiglottis closes the windpipe so that food doesn't enter into it.
Sometimes due to activities such as talking while eating, the epiglottis may not close the windpipe properly, resulting in food entering into the windpipe. This is one of the major causes of food choking.
When food particles are too large that they get stuck up in the esophagus, ( food pipe)it is not normally a medical emergency because it can be pushed in by drinking water,
But actual choking occurs when food enters the wind pipe and block the passage of air through the windpipe. This may result in silent coughing or gagging, wheezing, clutching the throat, inability to breath or speak and cyanosis.
Choking refers to acute obstruction of the airways resulting in inability to breath,speak or cough. When a person is choking, he needs an emergency help known as Heimlich maneuver or abdominal thrusts.
Heimlich maneuver is only required in emergency situations and this procedure developed by American college of Emergency physicians should only be applied to someone who is choking
The Heimlich maneuver should not be administered on children below one year of age or on heavily pregnant women. According to medical news today, a person must be asked " Are you choking? and he responds by nodding before you administer this first aid.
Heimlich maneuver or abdominal thrusts is a first aid method people can use to remove something from somebody's windpipe.
Below are the steps in the Heimlich maneuver:
1. Stand behind the person who is choking.
2. Wrap your hands at his waist.
3 Move your hands forward a little above the belly button ( navel) and below the ribs.
4 Make a thrust inside by tightly holding your fist . Do this repeatedly for about five times
This process will help the person to be free from the choking. If the choking was caused by a swallowed object, the object may fall off from the mouth after the abdominal thrusts.
Take him to the hospital after the first aid for expert attention. Note: Abdominal thrusts is not suitable to be done on children below one year or on heavily pregnant women.
Source of information: www.medicalnewstoday
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