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First Aid: Choking


If someone chokes and cannot breathe, you should be prepared to help. What should you do?

Choking means that the air passages are blocked. It should be treated immediately to save the victim’s life.

Signs of choking include coughing, noisy breathing, waving for help, inability to talk or turning blue. As soon as you notice any choking signs you should give 5 blows as shown here. Five times between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5.

If he’s still choking you should try the Heimlich maneuver. Stand behind the victim, surround him with your arms, make a fist with one hand, and grasp the fist with the other hand. Then press inwards and upwards five times.

If the victim is still choking and starts to lose consciousness you have to call the emergency number immediately. Lay the victim in a supine position on the ground and sit on his legs while placing the heel of your hand slightly above the navel. Apply upward thrusts, which is the same as Heimlich’s maneuver but in a flat position. By using this maneuver we are trying to expel the blocking agent, using the air present in the victims lungs.

Try to check if there’s anything blocking the victim’s throat, but be very careful not to push it deeper into the airway.

If he had already lost consciousness, we will discuss this in more detail later.

This was the scenario in case of choking. More information about different scenarios will be in the next videos about choking.

I wish you good health!

Alyaa Gad

Alyaa Gad


Alyaa Gad is an Egyptian medical doctor, graduated at the Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo. After having worked with UNICEF in the healthcare-deprived areas of Upper Egypt, Alyaa decided to study health education in The Netherlands. She worked as a medical researcher and lecturer at several Dutch institutes, before settling down in Switzerland. She currently works in a general medicine clinic. In her free time, she works as an abstract artist in her studio. Dr. Alyaa is married and has two sons.

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