BLS Certification Manual: Choking

First Aid: Choking
What Choking Means

A choking emergency occurs when the airway of a victim is partially or completely blocked from allowing air to pass into the lungs by a foreign object. These types of incidences would require quick action intervention from bystanders for victim assistance.

How to Know

Victims often use what is called the universal choking sign. It is when the victim clutches his/her neck or throat area with both hands indicating a severe airway obstruction.

Why it Matters

Choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death. Thousands of people die from choking every year. Knowing first aid for choking and how to perform the Heimlich maneuver properly can make the difference between life and death.