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First Aid- Choking

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CHOKING

Choking is when the throat\airway is partially blocked (minor choking) or completely blocked (major choking) the blockage can be a result of a foreign object e.g. food

Signs of choking

  • Difficulty or inability to speak, cry, cough or breathe (may be gasping)
  • May hold their throat and tears may be streaming down their cheeks.
  • May lead to loss of consciousness if no help is given.

How to help

Encourage casualty to cough.
If coughing does not clear the blockage
Stand to the side and slightly behind the casualty. Put your foot between the casualty’s feet
The casualty must lean forward with head lower than chest
Using the heel of the hand give 5 back blows between shoulder blades (stop if the obstruction clears)
Check the mouth and remove any obstruction.
If obstruction has not cleared give 5 abdominal thrusts: Standing behind and placing a fist just above the navel (belly button) and well below the bottom of the breastbone. Grasp your fist with your other hand.
Pull sharply inwards and upward up to 5times (stop if the obstruction clears)
Check the mouth and remove any obstruction.
If the casualty becomes unconscious start C.P.R. (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation)

NB.Keep looking in the mouth and try to remove any object you see with a finger
Call for MEDICAL help
Continue the cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts until air way is clear, help arrives or the casualty becomes unconscious
If unconscious continue C.P.R. until medical help arrives or the casualty gains consciousness.

FOR A BABY Under 1 year

Kneel down; lay the baby face down, along your forearm with head low. Support head and back.
Give 5 back blows (between the shoulder blades) until the obstruction clears.
Check the mouth and remove any object in the mouth.
If obstruction has not cleared, give 5 chest thrusts: Still kneeling down lay the baby on its back along your fore arm
Using two fingers, push inwards against the infant’s breastbone, one finger’s breadth below the nipple line 5 times (until the obstruction clears)
Check the object in the mouth and remove it.
N.B keep looking in the mouth and try and remove any object you see with a finger
Call for MEDICAL help
Continue the cycles of back blows and chest thrusts until airway is clear, medical help arrives or the baby is unconscious.
If the baby becomes unconscious commence C.P.R until medical help arrives or until the baby gains consciousness
N.B Do not sweep your finger in search of the object otherwise you push it even further down the throat; only take it out if you can see it
.

C.P.R stands for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation

This is done on a non-breathing casualty to resuscitate the heart
Lay the casualty on his\her back
Kneel down next to the casualty
Place both hands (one on top of the other) in the center of the casualty’s chest. Be careful not to push at the bottom of the breastbone, or the abdomen. Lean well over the casualty; press straight down so the chest goes down about 4 to 5cm (about the width of three fingers), keeping your elbows straight. Stop pushing and let chest rise completely, but do not remove your hands from chest (these are chest compressions)
Do this 30 times (at the rate of 100 compressions per minute)
Give 2 rescue breaths by

    • Opening the airway (head tilt chin lift)
    • Pinch the soft part of the casualty’s nose with finger and thumb.
    • Open casualty’s mouth (use a face mask or shield)
    • Take a deep Breath
    • Place your mouth over the casualty’s mouth ensure a good seal. (i.e. no air escapes)
    • Breath into the casualty’s mouth for one second.
    • Remove your mouth and release the nose
    • Repeat

N.B if you cannot do a mouth to mouth (due to injury or illness) you can do a mouth to nose ventilation. Ensure the mouth is closed\sealed
Give 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths
Continue until Medical help arrives or someone takes over or the casualty gains consciousness.
Please note that you need proper training to be able to do the above without harming the casualty. For instance you cannot do C.P.R on a breathing person or someone who is alive. .For further information and training please contact ST JOHN ASSOCIATION ZIMBABWE No 102 Baines Avenue Harare Phone :253046

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