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Choking and the Heimlich Maneuver

            Throughout the years, numerous amounts of people lose their lives from choking on objects that obstruct their airways and cause suffocation. But there is a technique which can be used on both adults and children older than one year of age to help expel a trapped object. There is a technique called the "abdominal thrusts" otherwise known as the "Heimlich maneuver". This technique when performed lifts the diaphragm and expel air from the lungs. This results in the foreign object being expelled from the airway. There are three different ways the Heimlich maneuver can be performed, these are: for adults, for children and for oneself. .
             For a choking adult, they may not be able to speak or breathe properly which means your help will be needed immediately. First ask, "Are you choking? Can you speak?" DO NOT perform first aid if the person is coughing forcefully and is able to speak. A strong cough can often dislodge the object. If the adult victim is in fact choking you should quickly perform the Heimlich maneuver. You first make sure the victim is standing upright and from behind, making sure your arms can reach all the way around the victim (if not find someone else), you wrap both your arms around their waste. Place thumb side of your balled fist against the victim's upper abdomen, below the ribcage but above the navel. Grabbing your fist with your other hand you then press into their upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. It is important that you do not squeeze the ribcage to hard as it me injure the victim even more. The thrust to your hands should be confined. These steps should be repeated until the object is expelled. .
             A choking baby may be more fragile so careful measurements are to be taken when handling the infant. Lay the child down, face up, on a firm surface and kneel or stand at the young child's feet, or hold an infant on your lap facing away from you.

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