How to perform the heimlich maneuver
The other day I almost choked on a peanut (seriously) and got quite frantic when I realised that no one at home knew how to do the Heimlich Maneuver. That peanut quickly got coughed out, but what about next time...?
The Heimlich Maneuver is a technique that can be used for preventing a choking death when a person’s throat becomes obstructed by a piece of food or some other object. The Heimlich maneuver can be used safely on both adults and children, but many experts do not recommend it for infants that are 1 year or younger. It is also possible to perform the maneuver on yourself if needed.
Bear in mind that a choking victim cannot speak or breathe and your help is needed immediately, and that hand signals normally indicate a person in distress.
How to perform the Heimlich Maneuver:
- Position yourself behind the person who is in trouble and place your arms around their waist. They might be sitting or standing at the time.
- Make a fist with the thumb side of your hand touching just above the persons belly button. Wrap your other hand on top of your fist.
- Thrust your fist upward and inward into the upper stomach area. This motion forces air out your windpipe to dislodge the obstructed object.
- Repeat thrusting motions until the object is cleared and dislodged from the throat.
What to do if the patient is unconscious:
- Place the choking victim on their back.
- Straddle the victim, sitting on their hips, so you are facing their stomach.
- Place the heel of your hand above their belly button and below their ribcage. Place your other hand on top of the other.
- Use your body weight to push upward into their stomach with a quick thrust.
- Repeat as necessary until the object has been removed.
* Slapping of the victims back could cause the obstructing object to become stuck even worse.