People usually rush into panic when they’re choking and will instinctively ask for water if they can still speak. If people are around, they can ask for help either by calling an ambulance and letting them perform a Heimlich maneuver. If choking is not resolved, it can lead to loss of consciousness, and possibly death.
In the extremely rare case you choke and you are alone, the following steps ensure your chances of survival.
You want your body to not demand too much oxygen and the best way to do this is by moving only as much as necessary. Your blood has limited oxygen supply and you’re only conscious as long as your heart is able to pump blood efficiently.
Any erratic behavior or forceful movements can increase your heart’s activity and your body will respond by consuming more oxygen to burn energy, and in turn, this will signal the brain for you to breathe more. This places you at a greater risk by letting the object go down deeper in your airways.
WIth the limited amount of time on your hand, calling for a first responder is important. If you’re able to talk, that’s good news. Waste no breath in telling your name and address (and of course the fact that you’re choking).
Your body is amazing at self-preservation. If you find yourself coughing, do not attempt to suppress it. Cough forcefully until the foregin object drops out. If it doesn’t work in the first few quick tries then it’s time to perform a Heimlich maneuver.
Position yourself so your body is parallel to the floor. You can do this by resting the upper half of your body on a counter or chair. Using one of your hands balled up in a fist, position it above the navel and cover it with your other hand. Try to push inwards and upwards at the same time in quick thrusts.
If you live with neighbors in an apartment, it’s usually smarter to rush for help to allow them to do the Heimlich maneuver on you. This is the best method as you will no longer be able to perform Heimlich on yourself if you’re unconscious. The person in charge of an unconscious individual can do CPR until help arrives.
Nobody has to undergo these tedious steps so the best way is to avoid the risk of choking altogether.
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