The material posted in this blog is for information purposes only. If you want to learn how to recognize and treat a conscious choking adult and child victims take a CPR or first aid course with Vancouver First Aid Ltd. CPR courses in Surrey are now available.
A rescuer must first recognize that a victim is choking. The victim with a mild obstruction / partial obstruction will be coughing forcefully and will likely have his or her hands around there neck. This is recognized as the international symbol for choking, however, some victims might not have there hands placed around there neck. In a scenario in which a victim has a partial obstruction, the rescuer should reassure the victim that everything will be ok and to promote the victim to keep coughing.
If the victim is unable to cough and has significantly more difficulty breathing than the rescuer must act accordingly. If the victim can no longer cough the patient is now suffering from a severe obstruction. First, the rescuer should continue to reassure the victim to keep them calm. Next, the rescuer needs to ask for permission to help the victim. The rescuer needs to be aware that the victim can not speak and that the answer from the victim will come visually usually a nod or a shake from the head. The rescuer should explain to the victim that he or she is trained in first aid. Once the rescuer has obtained approval from the victim, the rescuer will position him/her self behind the victim in such a way as to support the victim in case he or she goes unconscious. The rescuer has only moments to react as the victim can becoming unconscious within a minute if the situation does not improve. After the rescuer positions him / her self behind the victim he or she will locate the victims hips and reach towards the front of the stomach until both hands meet which is usually one or two inches below the belly button. This is how the rescuer will landmark for the correct location to do “J” thrusts. “J” thrusts are significantly more effective than the Heimlich maneuver even though they are both very similar. The rescuer will tuck one thumb into his or her fist and place that fist (thumb facing the belly button), with the other arm holding the the fist (as if hugging the victim), at the land-marked position mentioned earlier. The rescuer will pull in towards the victims stomach (like the Heimlich maneuver) but rather than stop as soon as the rescuer can not pull anymore, the rescuer will continue to pull upwards creating the figure “J”. This is called a “J” thrust. After 5 “J” thrusts, the rescuer will position him / her self beside the victim so that they are facing the side of the victims head and slowly bend the victim over so that the patients airway is parallel to the ground. If available, the victim can hold onto a desk, counter top or the edge of chair. For added support the rescuer should hold onto the patient with one arm underneath the victims arm and holding onto the shoulder from the front in case the victim goes unconscious. With the victim bent forward the rescuer will deliver 5 firm back blows between the shoulder blades of the patient. The back blows should be delivered using the heel of the rescuers hands. The rescuer will alternate between 5 back blows and 5 “J” thrusts until the obstruction is cleared or until the victim losses consciousness.
To learn how to rescue an unconscious choking victim or a victim with complications (pregnant, infant, obese, etc.) take CPR or First Aid training with Vancouver First Aid Ltd. Candidates will receive hands on first aid and CPR training and the confidence and practise to apply these skills in real life situations. Vancouver First Aid Ltd. now offers first aid training in Surrey and CPR classes in Surrey.
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