How To Perform The Heimlich Maneuver
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How To Perform The Heimlich Maneuver

4 easy steps on doing the Heimlich Maneuver properly and effectively on a choking victim.

The Heimlich Manuever is an emergency technique designed to dislodge food or other objects that may be blocking a person's airway. Having the knowledge and skills to do the tecnique properly and effectively may actually save another's life. This article includes a step-by-step instruction on what to do if faced with such a scenario.

Step 1: Determine if the person is actually choking.

An actual choking person with a completely obstructed airway will not be able to speak and respond to questions of concerns. They will be unable to cough out the food or object blocking their airway. In prolonged and severe cases, this will lead to cyanosis, or the bluish discoloration of the body, particularly the lips and fingernails due to lack of oxygen. Most victims will have their hands around their throat with anguished and panicked expression.

Step 2: Help the victim to a standing position while keeping place behind the victim with legs apart to keep balance.

Step 3: Make a fist with your dominant hand and place it above the victim's navel and wrap your other hand around this fist.

This wil ensure a secure grip while keeping the victim from falling.

Step 4: Make quick upward thrusts on the victim's abdomen.

One of the most important part of the maneuver is performing this step in a way similar to the letter "J" so as to force the obstruction out of the airway. The thrusts should be quick but not too forceful as to avoid damage to the victim's ribcage. Do the technique several times until the victim starts coughing and/or breathing normally.

Tips:

  • If normal breathing has not returned, if the victim has fallen into unconsciousness, call the paramedics and do rescue breathing.
  • If a choking victim is coughing, do not slap him/her on the back as it can only aggravate the situation. Coughing is the body's natural mechanism of removing blockages from the airway and the fact that the person can do such means that there is only partial blockage. Intervene when the victim show signs of actual choking and airway obstruction.

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