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4 Different Signs of Choking You Should Look Out For

January 02, 2020

Signs of Choking to Look Out For

When someone is choking, their first instinct may not be to make the universal sign of choking. Here are four different signs of choking to look out for.

It only takes four minutes of choking to cause brain damage and possibly death. That's not very much time!

With every second being a matter of life or death, we should all know how to help choking victims.

The universal sign of choking, clutching both hands over your windpipe, is the standard way to inform people that you're choking. However, if someone doesn't know this sign or is incapable of making it, you should be aware of other ways to tell if someone is choking.

Here are four additional signs of choking you should be aware of.

1. Hand Signals

If someone doesn't know the universal sign for choking, whether they're a child or someone who's too frantic to remember, they may just look at you with panicked eyes and point to their throat to indicate that something is wrong.

Children may also panic and begin waving their arms around in the air to get someone's attention.

2. Struggling to Breathe

If you notice a person having difficulty breathing, they may be choking. Other signs include gagging, wheezing, and coughing. If the object is completely blocking their airway, they may not be able to talk or breath at all.

Infants may have a weak cry or cough or suddenly go silent.

3. Bluish Lips and Skin

Since choking victims are suffocating, they're not able to get enough oxygen to their blood. Because of this, their face, lips, and fingertips may begin to turn blue.

This sign may not appear immediately because it takes some time for the blood to become less oxygenated, so it's best to be aware of other signs in addition to this one.

4. Passing Out

Due to the lack of oxygen getting to the brain, choking victims may eventually pass out. You can determine that a foreign object in their trachea was the cause of their passing out if they show other signs of choking.

If you don't see their chest rising and falling, can't hear them breathing, or know they had something in their mouth and may now be choking on it, begin to take steps to unblock their airway.

Unblocking Someone's Airway

If you must dislodge something from someone's airway, administer the abdominal thrust maneuver. This maneuver will lift the choking victim's diaphragm and expel air out of their lungs, forcing the blockage to be ejected from the airway. This maneuver can be self-administered with some alterations.

However, if you aren't confident enough to perform an abdominal thrust, consider buying a Dechoker life-saving device. The device acts as a manual vacuum that sucks the blockage out of the choking person's airway. The device can easily be self-administered.

Know the Different Signs of Choking

If someone is making the universal sign for choking, you should help them remove the blockage immediately. However, you should also be aware of other things that can be indicators of a blocked airway.

Knowing these signs of choking can increase your chances of being able to help a choking victim.

Furthermore, stay safe this holiday season by knowing the top choking threats for children around the holidays.


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