Previously published in Examiner
Part 1 of the First aid for choking series
We have already discussed how laughing can kill you, and one of the ways that it can is by laughing so hard that the victims cut off their oxygen supply and choke to death. However, though rare when it involves laughing, we know that it is very easy to choke from many other reasons as well.
For many of you reading this article, first aid for choking is probably something you are already aware of, but if you are not, here are some important tips which may help save your life or the life of a loved one or friend.
Why does choking occur?
Choking occurs when a foreign object blocks the passage down to the back of the throat or windpipe. Usually the blockage is food, but children can swallow objects like coins or buttons that end up getting stuck somewhere in the throat. When there is a blockage it will prevent the airflow and cut off the oxygen supply to the lungs.
How to recognize when someone is choking
The most common sign is seeing someone with their hands holding their throat. Sometimes when the person is choking, he or she cannot speak and so will not be able to tell you what is wrong.
You will also need to look for others signs such as:
- Labored or noisy breathing
- The choking victim could have difficulty coughing
- Because the oxygen to the lungs is cut off, you will see the lips, skin and even nails start to turn a bluish or dusky color.
- If nothing is done to help dislodge the obstacle stuck in the throat, the choking individual will fall unconscious.
To be continued …
First aid courses and training in Montreal:
McGill University offers a first aid training course; see the schedule at the site for summer and fall 2010 courses.
CPR-Pro.com will also provide first aid courses as long as there is a minimum of 6 people who require instruction.
Visit the Montreal Red Cross site for information on their first aid courses.
St. John’s Ambulance also provide first aid courses; visit their site for more information.