1st Feb 2019 Friday Resus Ready First Aid Trivia
You see your friend choking on a grape. She is coughing loudly and pointing to her throat. What is the correct first aid response?
Option 1 – the Heimlich Maneuver
Option 2 – nothing, reassure her, wait and see if she can cough it up herself
Results from the facebook poll are:
- Option 1 – Heimlich 20% 20%
- Option 2 – Wait 80% 80%
If you answered Option 2 – nothing, reassure her, wait and see if she can cough it up herself then you would be correct.
The Heimlich Maneuver (also known as abdominal thrusts) whereby the you stand behind the choking casualty and places your arms around the casualties lower rib cage and perform a quick tight hug motion has been phased out of first aid practice by the Australian Resuscitation Council.
If you’ve seen any movie or tv show where they use the Heimlich Maneuver, the first responder almost always has there arms in the wrong position and this occurs in real life situations as well. Do me a favour and place your right hand in the center of your body just below your rib cage.
In the movies, this is the place that the first responder is placing most of the pressure. As you can feel, below your palm is a handy organ that processes your food. What happens when we press to hard on this organ? We have a high risk of spewing. Then we have food coming up the food pipe and food stuck in the wind pipe. Not a good combination.
For those that selected Option 2, you correctly identified the two key words in the scenario “coughing loudly“. In order to cough, we need air in our lungs. If our friend is still able to cough then this means that some air is still able to get past the grape and into her lungs. She has a “partial obstruction” in her airway.
If however our friend was no longer able to cough, was going bright red or blue in the face then she has a “fully obstructed airway”. This is when we should intervene with some basic first aid.
The choking casualty will more than likely have put themselves in a position where they are trying to get the most air. This is usually a bent over position or leaning forward in some way.
The first aid for a choking casualty as per the Australian Resuscitation Council is 5 back blows followed by 5 chest thrusts, checking between each blow if the object has been ejected.
If this is unsuccessful call 000 and continue the 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts until the ambulence arrives.
If at any point the casualty becomes unconscious and is not breathing normally then call 000 and commence CPR.
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Resus Ready uses choking simulation manikins where you can practice your back blows and chest thrusts to remove an object that is lodged in the manikins airway. The more people that know how to do first aid the safer our workplaces and communities are.
The information posted on Resus Ready First Aid Training’s website is for educational, communication and information purposes only and is not intended to replace or constitute medical advice or treatments.