Choking occurs if an inhaled object or food travels down the trachea .


Try to remove the obstruction with your fingers. If you cannot reach it, move to the next step.

If by yourself, punch yourself one inch below your sternum . This will be painful but will throw the diaphragm into spasm which in turn causes a strong exhalation of air, which may force the obstruction out. If somebody is with you, indicate the need for a slap between the shoulder blades hard, three or four times.

If the above procedures do not work, try the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Heimlich manoeuvre

Move behind the person and interlock your fingers. Place your encircled arms over the head and shoulders until the knuckles are facing towards the person about one inch below the sternum . Pull inwards and upwards sharply, three or four times. This will cause the diaphragm to spasm and force the obstruction out of the airway.

Do not practise this technique on those not choking. If the patient has lost consciousness at any point, then once the obstruction is removed initiate artificial respiration.

Self-Heimlich manoeuvre

Move to the corner of a table. Swiftly place something soft and thick over the corner. Lower yourself to a suitable height, placing the corner one inch below the diaphragm and lean forward heavily. Repeat this three or four times with enough force to expel the air in the lungs swiftly.

Do not employ this technique if somebody else is around to perform the above procedure.