Choking - The New Silent Killer April 12, 2016 10:25

You spend a lot of time looking out for your children and elderly parents, but some dangers happen so quickly you barely have time to react. When choking occurs, brain cells start dying within four minutes. Complete brain death occurs in as little as 10 minutes, giving you limited time to administer first aid and save their life. The choking victim may be unable to call for help or indicate distress, which leads some to call choking the silent killer. The National Safety Council reported 4,800 choking deaths, with over half impacting the elderly. You need to know common choking hazards, how to identify signs of choking and choking first aid strategies.

Common Choking Hazards

Food represents a major choking hazard among young children and the elderly. Hot dogs get a perfect fit in the airway, which allows this food to completely block breathing when swallowed incorrectly. Whole grapes provide another shape that easily lodges in the throat. Food that's cut too large and difficult to swallow is another threat, as are larger nuts. Avoiding problematic foods and cutting smaller pieces help avoid these risks.

Children also face problems with choking on toys. The child can swallow broken toys or small pieces, which lodge in the throat and may cause additional damage as it passes through the system. You can minimize this choking risk by purchasing age-appropriate toys, throwing out broken toys and paying attention to choking warnings.

Signs of Choking

You have less than 10 minutes to help a choking victim, so it's essential to recognize the different signs of choking. Audible choking signs include gagging and repeated coughing. The airway may not be entirely blocked if the person can cough. In many cases, you have no audible signs as the victim becomes unable to talk or make noise.

Some of the most common inaudible signs include panicked motion and grabbing their own throat. If the airway has been blocked for some time before you reach the victim, the face may turn blue, or they could lose consciousness. These are serious signs requiring immediate medical assistance and first aid.

Choking First Aid

Your course of action varies depending on whether you're handling a full or partial blockage. The choking victim may be able to clear the object without outside intervention in a partial blockage. They're still getting oxygen, so you have more time to help if they can't clear their throat. A full blockage requires quick and decisive action, as emergency medical personnel may not reach the scene in time to save the person.

While many medical organizations recommend abdominal thrusts, it comes with several disadvantages. You put a significant amount of force behind the abdominal thrusts, which can damage soft tissue and break ribs. You also have no guarantee your efforts will be effective. When you have a choice between causing pain or potentially losing a loved one to choking, you do what you need to do. However, there's a better way to administer choking first aid.

An innovative device called the Dechoker provides a fast, effective and safe way to remove obstructions from the choking victim's throat. This FDA Class II medical device offers an easy to use life saving tool. You use it by putting the mask over the choking victim's mouth and guiding the tube to the back of the jaw. Once you position the mask, you pull the handle to create suction and repeat this process up to five times. You remove the mask after three seconds and put it back in place to try again, if necessary. The Dechoker removes anything in the airway and allows the victim to breath quickly. The device causes no damage to the victim, making it a preferred method compared to the abdominal thrusts.

Who Should Carry an Anti-choking Device?

The Dechoker's small form design provides a perfect fit for your family's first aid kit. However, this anti-choking device benefits more than families with small children. Elderly living by themselves also face high choking risks and they may be unable to get medical assistance in time. The Dechoker's design allows anyone to use it on themselves, so they can live safely on their own. This device comes in three sizes, from toddler to adult.

Restaurants experience many choking incidents, but they may lack the resources for a quick response. The Dechoker requires no special training, so the first person who gets to the victim can perform choking first aid. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities also benefit significantly from the Dechoker, as they serve a population with a high choking risk. Schools, particularly grade schools, have children susceptible to choking. A Dechoker stored in the kitchen or the cafeteria is all it takes to avoid a tragedy if a child starts to choke at lunch.

Interested in learning more about the Dechoker's benefits or want to order one for your family or business? Click here to explore Dechoker's product line and accessories, get a full step-by-step guide on saving someone's life with this device and learn more about the toll this new silent killer takes on families every year.