1. Assess the Situation
Before you intervene, determine if the person is genuinely choking. Look for these signs of choking:
- Inability to speak, cry, or make any noise.
- Difficulty breathing or labored breathing.
- Clutching their throat or neck area.
If the person is coughing forcefully or making noise, encourage them to continue coughing to try and clear the obstruction on their own.
2. Ask for Permission
If the person is conscious and choking, you should ask for their permission before proceeding with the Heimlich maneuver.
For Adults and Children Over 1 Year Old:
Stand behind the choking person and place your arms around their waist.
For Infants Under 1 Year Old:
Hold the infant face down on your forearm, supporting their head and neck with your hand. Make sure the infant's head is lower than their chest.
5. Perform Back Blows (Infants Only)
For infants under 1 year old, if the back blows do not work, perform chest thrusts:
- Place two fingers (index and middle fingers) in the center of the infant's chest, just below the nipple line.
- Give five quick chest thrusts, each about 1-1.5 inches deep, at a rate of about two per second.
For Children and Adults (Over 1 Year Old):
Stand behind the choking person, placing your arms around their waist.
- Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb side against the middle of the person's abdomen, just above the navel.
- Grasp your fist with your other hand.
- Position yourself slightly to the side, not directly behind, in case the object is forcefully expelled.
- Give quick, upward thrusts into the abdomen, using your body weight to push in and up. Perform five quick thrusts.
6. Repeat If Necessary
Continue performing abdominal thrusts or chest thrusts as needed until:
- The object is expelled, and the person can breathe or cough effectively.
- The person becomes unconscious (in this case, lower them gently to the ground and start CPR).
- Professional medical help arrives and takes over.
7. Seek Medical Attention
Even if the obstruction is cleared, it's essential to seek medical evaluation to ensure there are no lingering issues or complications.
Remember, the Heimlich maneuver is a technique used in emergency situations and should only be applied when you are sure the person is choking and unable to breathe. Always seek professional medical care after performing the Heimlich maneuver, even if the obstruction is successfully cleared.