Source: | Gabriel Fiebor, Ghana

Everyone has gotten choked before. Millions among billions ended up in the operating theatre for surgery to be done to be relieved of its difficulty. Do you even know babies also ended up in the theatre for surgery because of this? What happens when a victim gets choked?

Choking can be explained as any mechanical obstruction to the flow of air from the environment into the lungs. Mostly when food or small objects get caught in the throat, they block the airway which prevents oxygen from getting into the lungs and the brain. Science made us know that when an individual goes without oxygen for more than four (4) minutes; the brain gets damaged or even could die.  Choking is a very critical experience which could land its victim to the early grave.

Signs and Symptoms to determine if someone is choking.                                                                                                                           

  • The victim is unable to speak or cry out
  • The victim’s face turns blue due to lack of oxygen in circulation.
  • The victim grabs his or her throat
  • Weak cough and difficulty in breathing
  • In severe cases, some victims become unconscious

 How we can manage someone who is choking

  • Encourage victim to cough
  • Initiate back slaps (use hard blows with the heel of your hand on the upper back of the victim)
  • Abdominal thrust (stand behind the victim and use both hands to exert pressure on the bottom of the diaphragm)
  • Call for help and send for an ambulance if situation gets worse.
  • If breathing ceases, start artificial respiration until aid arrives

How do you manage your child or an infant who can’t cough or talk when choking?

  • Shout for help or call an emergency number before you start any effort
  • Initiate chest thrust (chest compression) and alternate it with five back slaps ensuring that the infant’s head is below the rest of the body.

Ways to prevent choking

  • Take your time to chew when eating
  • Teach children to chew properly before swallowing
  • Eat at a table or at least while sitting down.
  • Do not let infants or younger children play with coins
  • Educate your child, families and friends on choking

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