When we swallow food, a little flap called the epiglottis blocks the airway so that food is pushed down the esophagus and into the stomach. Sometimes this process doesn’t work and food gets stuck, resulting in a blocked airway. This is called choking. If you’ve ever been in a situation where choking has occurred, then you know just how terrifying this experience can be.
In situations where choking could have been prevented, such as a young child putting a piece of a toy that was defective in their mouth, then you may be able to receive compensation.
Types of Choking
There are two main types of choking. One is known as partial airway obstruction or mild choking, and the other is a complete airway obstruction or known as severe choking. It is important to be able to identify what kind of choking is happening as this impacts what kind of assistance that is required to help them.
How to Identify the Type of Choking
In order to know what type of assistance is required, you need to understand the differences between the two types of choking.
If someone has a partial airway obstruction:
- They should be able to breathe.
- Their breathing may sound different as air passes through a narrow space.
- They should be able to cough.
- They should be able to cry.
- There will usually be able to clear the blockage themselves.
If someone has a complete airway obstruction:
- They will be unable to breathe.
- They will be unable to cough.
- They will be unable to cry.
- They will require help as without it they will probably lose consciousness
How to Help Someone Choking
Once you know what type of obstruction a person has, you respond accordingly. If they have a partial obstruction you should encourage them to cough to try to clear the blockage. Do not put your fingers into the mouth as they may bite or you may push the obstruction further down the throat. If asking them to cough does not work, you should perform back blows.
If someone is suffering from a complete obstruction, then you should begin with five back blows, which are also known as back slaps. If this does not successfully clear the obstruction, you should then move to administer five abdominal thrusts. Abdominal thrusts should not be given to children under one year of age or pregnant women, as this could injure them. If neither option helps, then you should call 911 immediately.
Choking is a serious and often terrifying time for all parties involved. If you decide to reach out to a choking lawyer, like our friends at Davis & Brusca, LLC, they can help you with any questions that you may have regarding your case and what to do moving forward.