One Class You Don’t Take in College: The Heimlich
Do you know that one of the most common injuries that occur on college campuses is choking? Choking can happen to anyone at anytime (or at least when they are eating food). It is more likely to happen on college campuses because many students converse with others while they eat and swallow big bites of food while they are hurrying to class.
So, do you know the Heimlich? In other words, do you know what to do if your friend or someone else starts choking?
The signs of someone choking include putting their hands around their throat, gasping for breath (or making no sound at all), and turning blue around the lips. Usually when people choke, they aren’t able to say anything or make any noise at all.
If you notice someone choking, it’s wise to ask first before you help. “Are you choking?” or “Do you need help?” Don’t expect them to be able to answer, but they will nod. Once they do, immediately position yourself behind them and place your hands in one big fist a couple of inches above their navel (belly button). With quick, upward thrusts, try to dislodge the item stuck in their windpipe. Continue giving thrusts until the item comes out their mouth or until the person passes out.
If the person passes out, make sure to immediately shout at someone nearby to call 911. Begin CPR, or find someone who knows how to give CPR. In between breaths and thrusts, look for the lodged item in the person’s mouth. It may have become dislodged, and if so, remove it. Continue to give CPR until medical personnel arrive and are ready to take over.
If the person who is choking is pregnant, you can lift up the person’s arms and give thrusts in the upper chest area instead of on the stomach. If an infant is choking, place them face down on one arm while you sharply pat the baby’s back.
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