You get something tasty, you start chewing and suddenly it happens. You are suffocating and you are out of air. You immediately panic and don’t really know what to do. The same is true for many parents when their children are at risk of suffocation. But what can be done? Below is information on first aid in the event of suffocation.
Why can eating food be dangerous?
Basically, you may choke when you eat, for example if the food has not been fully chewed or if there is a bone left in it. But you can’t just choke only while eating. There are many different situations in which a person can choke. The craftsman can swallow the nails he puts in his teeth while he works. Babies can choke on small toys, coins, or marbles. Especially in children, the risk of suffocation is slightly higher.
In children, the airways are still developing and therefore are much narrower and smaller than in an adult. As a result, babies choke much faster. For this reason, young children in particular shouldn’t eat grapes, nuts, or even sweets. In fact, with these foods, small children run the risk of suffocation. You should therefore pay attention to your baby’s nutrition.
Ingestion can be dangerous because the airways are blocked and therefore there is no air. Instead of entering the oesophagus, food enters the windpipe, blocking the flow of air. The situation can become critical after a very short time. A person does not survive long after they stop breathing. The brain is not getting enough oxygen, our blood vessels are not getting oxygen, etc. If so, you don’t have much time before you lose consciousness. In the worst case, there is a risk of death.
But what to do in case of ingestion and suffocation? Usually, people act intuitively and based on the situation. But even here you may be wrong.
First aid in case of suffocation: instructions
Adults and young children can suffocate. But there are several approaches to using first aid.
- Encourage the person to cough. The blockage could be resolved by expelling the foreign body.
- If a simple cough doesn’t solve the problem, you can hit the person on the back several times. It is extremely important to strike between the shoulder blades. Ask the person to lean forward slightly.
- If these first aid measures don’t help, you should call an ambulance immediately. Describe the situation and wait for further instructions on the phone.
- Heimlich maneuver. If the person is at risk of choking, use the Heimlich maneuver. To do this, stand behind the person and ask them to lean forward slightly. Then put your arms around the person and make a fist between the navel and the breastbone. The other hand wraps around your fist, then start pulling your hands firmly backwards, towards your chest.
- If the foreign body still doesn’t come out, perform steps 3 and 4 alternately: first strike on the back and then perform the Heimlich maneuver.
In children and infants
- Take the baby and sit with him in the chair. Bring your legs together and place the baby face down on your thighs. The chest should be approximately at knee height.
- In the next step, hit the middle of the back to eliminate the block.
- If this first aid measure doesn’t help, turn the baby over and give a few strokes with your fingertips at chest height.
- If the foreign object doesn’t come out, perform steps 2 and 3 alternately. You should also call an ambulance immediately.
Note: Are you worried or panicked in an emergency? You aren’t the only one. In emergency situations, we all immediately panic, especially when it comes to our children or loved ones. Our Emergency Taris app can help you in such situations. With the Taris app, the emergency call can be done quickly through the app and you can also request additional help. It is possible to ask for help from qualified medical personnel in the immediate vicinity, in order to guarantee immediate first aid even in the event of suffocation. Did you already know that ambulance takes on average 15 minutes to arrive? You can read more about the Taris app here.
How to avoid suffocation?
Choking can be avoided. With small children and babies, of course, you have to be careful with food. You should avoid large pieces and, if necessary, chew their food first. You should also avoid giving them foods such as grapes, nuts, and cherry tomatoes.
Adults should chew their food well. When eating food, we recommend that you chew it at least 20-30 times. This way the food is chopped, so that it is easy to swallow. If you eat your food too quickly, it could get stuck. You should also avoid biting your nails or having other objects between your teeth.
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