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Choking is caused by the sudden obstruction of the airway from an object like a food particle or, in the case of children, a small toy. Very often the victim can breathe some air past it and makes powerful coughing attempts to expel it. The more serious case is where the blockage is complete; coughing cannot be achieved and onlookers fail to realise that the patient is in the throes of a heart attack.

First Aid to be taken

As long as the victim is breathing and coughing, partial obstruction should be treated by advising him to try definite strong coughs rather than a succession of little ones.

The treatment for serious or complete obstruction should be as follows:

Begin with blows between the shoulder blades. Keep patient with head low. An infant should be held upside down firmly by his legs, while a child should be laid across your knees.

Each blow should be hard and deliberate. If three of them do not allow the object to be coughed out, use the abdominal method. This compresses the chest space, forcing the air up to blow the object out, like a pea from a peashooter. This can be done with the victim sitting or standing.

In all cases get medical aid.

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