How To Save Someone’s Life If They Are Choking

Paramedic performing CPR on patient in ambulanceChoking happens when someone’s airway suddenly gets blocked, either fully or partly, so they can’t breathe. It can happen just about anywhere: sitting down to eat, walking, or laying down. If a blockage is small, a person usually tries to remove it themselves, and the person will usually be able to speak, cry, cough or breathe.

If choking is occurring, the Red Cross recommends a “five-and-five” approach to delivering first aid:

Give 5 back blows. First, deliver five back blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

Give 5 abdominal thrusts. Perform five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver).
Alternate between 5 blows and 5 thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.