Choking occurs when a foreign object, usually food, gets stuck in a person's throat so that they cannot breathe normally. Choking can result in brain damage or death, and lasts only a matter of minutes. The Heimlich maneuver is the most common technique for rescuing a choking person. If no one else is around to save you, this maneuver can be done alone. To do so, follow the following steps.
Part 1 of 2: Preparation for Performing the Heimlich. Maneuver
Step 1. Try coughing up a foreign object
If it feels like something is stuck in your throat, try coughing it out. If you can cough up a foreign object strong enough to get it out, the Heimlich maneuver is unnecessary. If you can't cough up a foreign object and you're having trouble breathing, act quickly, especially if you're alone.
- The foreign body must be removed before you lose consciousness.
- Continue to cough even while the maneuver is being performed.
Step 2. Make a fist
First of all, the position of your hands must be correct. Make a fist with the palm of your dominant hand. Place it on the abdomen just above the navel and below the ribs.
- The position of the hands must be correct so that you do not hurt the ribs and can remove the stuck foreign object as quickly as possible.
- The laying of the fist is the same as the traditional Heimlich maneuver.
Step 3. Hold the fist with the other hand
When the fist of your dominant hand is in place, you will need to put your other hand as a lever. Open your other hand and place it on your fist on your stomach. Make sure your fist is in the center of your palm.
This way, you can push harder during the maneuver
Part 2 of 2: Performing the Heimlich Maneuver on Yourself
Step 1. Push the fist in and up
Press your fists and hands against the diaphragm or stomach area to remove the foreign body. Make a quick J (push in, then up) motion. Repeat several times.
If the foreign object doesn't come out quickly, add force with a stable object
Step 2. Add power with a stable object
Immediately find a stable object that is about waist-high for you to bend over. You can use a chair or table. Bend into a chair with your fists still in front of you, between the object (chair or table) and your abdomen. Push as hard as you can.
Thus, the force exerted on the diaphragm will be greater and effective in removing foreign objects that are choking you
Step 3. Repeat
You may fail to remove the foreign object on the first try. You need to keep pushing yourself toward a stable object quickly until the foreign object is removed. Once the foreign body has been removed, you should be able to breathe normally again.
- Stay calm, even if the situation is scary. Panic will only increase the heart rate, the need for air and make the situation worse.
- After the foreign body is removed, sit down and take your breath.
- If you later feel discomfort or sore throat, you should see a doctor.
- If the foreign object doesn't come out, call the ER.