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During this course you will learn how to deal with choking for children and infants, here we are talking about how to deal with choking for older children and adults because you would treat an older child and an adult who is choking in exactly the same way. There are two different types of obstruction that we associate with choking, the first is a mild airway obstruction,  this could be a fishbone, or small object that has been caught in the throat, it is uncomfortable maybe painful and they may be distressed,  the easiest way to find out if they can breathe is to ask them if they are choking, if they can talk they can breathe so the best action is to keep them calm encourage them to cough which would normally be enough to clear it, you can look in their mouth and if the obstruction is obvious it can be removed.

A severe airway obstruction is far more serious and means that something is stuck in their throat completely blocking it and they are unable to breathe, talk or cough and they will eventually become unconscious if the object is not cleared, so we need to do what we can to clear it.

In this situation you should stand behind them, slightly to one side and ask them to lean forwards while you support their upper body with one hand,  take the other hand and provide 5 sharp blows between the shoulder blades using the heel of your hand, checking between each one to see if the obstruction has been cleared. If the back-blows haven’t worked you will need to perform abdominal thrusts, to do this we put both arms around the casualty and make a fist with one hand and place it in between their belly button and the bottom of the breastbone,  place your other hand over the top of the fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards five times,  check each time see if the obstruction has cleared.

We perform abdominal thrusts to force air that is trapped in the lungs against the obstruction, to hopefully force it out.

If the obstruction remains, you will need to repeat the 5 back-blows and the 5 abdominal thrusts checking between each to see if the obstruction has cleared. If you cannot get the obstruction to clear call the emergency services and continue until they arrive it may be possible if you have a mobile to keep them on the line and keep them updated.

If the person loses consciousness, they will fall to the floor, take care that you do not get injured by trying to catch them, with a child it may be easy to guide them down or slow the fall but with adults this may not be so easy. If they are unconscious and not breathing you will need to begin CPR. If you provide abdominal thrusts and successfully remove the obstruction, sit the casualty down and keep them calm, they will need to be checked by a medical professional to make sure that the thrusts have not caused any injury.