Heimlich Maneuver: Step-by-Step

The Heimlich maneuver, also known as abdominal thrusts, is a life-saving technique used to clear an obstructed airway in a choking victim. It's crucial to act quickly and correctly in such situations. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to perform the Heimlich maneuver:

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.

3. Stand Behind the Choking Person

Position yourself behind the choking person.

For Adults and Children Over 1 Year Old:

  • Stand behind the person and place your arms around their waist.

4. Make a Fist

  • Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb side against the middle of the person's abdomen, just above the navel.

5. Grasp Your Fist with the Other Hand

  • Use your other hand to grasp your fist firmly.

6. Give Quick Upward Thrusts

  • 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.

7. Repeat If Necessary

Continue performing abdominal 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.

8. 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.

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