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CHOKING: caused when a foreign object (eg: hard food, broken teeth) lodges in the trachea (wind pipe) instead of the oesophagus (food pipe). If the object is at the entrance to the trachea (epiglottis), a good cough may dislodge it. If the object has made its way past the epiglottis, coughing may prevent the object from going further down the trachea.

Common symptoms of choking include: panicked and distressed behaviour, inability to talk in complete sentences, frantic coughing, unusual breathing sounds (eg: stridor, ‘whistling’), clutching at the throat, watery eyes, red face, cyanosis, altered level of consciousness.


  1. If patient is ABLE to cough: encourage coughing and send for help (Call 000)

  2. If UNABLE to cough: bend forward and give five back blows with the heel of

    your hand between shoulder blades – check if blockage has dislodged after

    each blow.

  3. If unsuccessful, give five chest thrusts by placing one hand in the middle of their

    back for support and the heel of the other hand on the lower part of their

    breastbone – check if blockage has dislodged after each blow.

Evacuation: Consider: Any patient requiring back blows/chest thrusts that doesn’t rapidly improve with clearing of the obstruction Rapid: Any patient who becomes unresponsive

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Below are some more useful links and downloads regarding Choking  

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