Medically Reviewed by Dr. David Costa Navarro
When someone puts in your throat, try to remove what is stuck. You should keep trying to get rid of what is stuck even if the person loses consciousness due to lack of oxygen. If the person becomes unconscious, alarm 911 and start doing cardiac rescue.
In this text you will find out different ways to help someone who has got something in their throats. The text is partly about children under one year and partly about children over a year and adults.
Signs that a person has something in his throat
If a person has something in their throat, it is not always easy to perceive it. The symptoms vary greatly depending on the severity of the respiratory barrier. These are some signs that they have got an object in their throat:
- Sudden cough.
- Suddenly exhaled breathing.
- The person screams or speaks weakly and horse.
- Older children and adults can get throaty because it hurts.
If there is a total stop in the airways, the person struggles to get air, their lips turn blue and they can neither cough nor scream. On such occasions, the person loses consciousness within minutes.
What can I do?
The easiest way for a larger child or adult to get an airway object is to cough. Therefore, if the person is coughing, you should urge them to continue coughing. But if the person cannot cough up the object yourself, you need help. You do this by giving alternate back strokes and abdominal or chest pressure, thus creating an air jolt that pushes air out of the person’s airway. If the object still does not come up after that and the person has become unconscious, you should start doing cardiac-rescue.
There are two different methods to help a person who was sitting in the throat. Which method to use depends on how old the person is. You can use the same method for children over a year as for adults.
Children younger than 1 year
If a toddler is conscious but unable to cough effectively: Do backstroke and chest pressure.
Give 5 backstrokes:
- Put the baby on your stomach in your lap.
- Place your forearm along the baby’s stomach and support the baby’s head by holding the chin. The child’s head should be lower than the body.
- Provide five powerful strokes between the child’s shoulder blades with the handgun.
Make 5 chest pressures:
- Turn the baby to the back of your lap and place it on your other forearm. Support your head with your hand. The child’s head should be lower than the body.
- Place your forefinger and middle finger on the lower half of the sternum. Be careful not to place your fingers too far down so that they end up on the sternum.
- Press five times. One third of the chest depth, about four centimeters, should be pressed down.
Open your mouth and see if the object has come up. Do not look for the object with your fingers in the throat if you cannot see it. Then there is a risk that the object is pushed further down and closes to the respiratory tract completely.
- If the item still does not come up, repeat the series with backstroke and chest pressure two more times.
Then continue with alternating spine and chest pressure until the object comes up or until help arrives. If the child becomes unconscious, start doing cardiac resuscitation instead.
Children older than 1 year and adults
You can use the same method for children over one year and adults.
If the person is conscious but unable to cough effectively: Do the back stroke and abdominal pressure.
Give 5 backstrokes:
- Stand behind the person. Tilt the person forward so much that the head is lower than the chest. Hold a hand to the upper part of the person’s chest as support.
- Provide five handsome strokes between the person’s shoulder blades with the handgun.
Give 5 abdominal pressures:
- Stand behind the person. Tie your hand and place it with your thumb against the person’s stomach, above the navel and well below the sternum.
- Grab your fist with your other hand.
- Press firmly inward and upward five times. Adjust the power to the size of the person.
Look in your mouth if the object has come up. Do not look for the object with your fingers in the throat if you cannot see it. Then there is a risk that the object is pushed further down and closes to the respiratory tract completely.
- If the item still does not come up, continue. Do the series with back stroke and abdominal pressure two more times.
Then continue with alternating spine and abdominal pressure until the object comes up or until help arrives. If the person becomes unconscious, you should start doing cardiac rescue instead.
To think about in cardio-pulmonary rescue
When a child or adult becomes unconscious, you should call 911 instead and start doing cardiovascular rescue. Cardiac resuscitation consists partly of breathing and partly of chest compressions.
Before you start, look in your mouth for foreign matter and remove it if it is visible.
By giving breaths, one hopes to be able to push air past the object or blow the object into one of the lungs and thereby be able to oxygenate the other lung.
Chest compressions help to remove the object from the airways and at the same time create a circulation of the blood. It is not dangerous to do chest compressions on a person even if the heart is beating.
After the compressions, do a quick check and look in the mouth if the object has come up before making new breaths.
You should try to do the steps without interruption, at an even pace. Do not pause to check for signs of life and avoid long breaks when switching between compressions and inlets. It is strenuous to do cardiac rescue and it is good if you can be several who help. In this case, you should change each other after two minutes. It is important not to give up.
If the person begins to breathe, put them in stable side position. The person should be examined by a doctor to check that there is nothing left in the airways.
How can I prevent it?
Most children start learning to seize when they are about three months old and try to put some of what they get into their mouths. It is a way for the child to explore things and to learn to understand the outside world. But there is a risk that the baby will put something in the mouth that can then get trapped in the airways. Both children and adults can even put food or candy in their throats.
In order to avoid such accidents, it is important to do the following:
- You can pick away small items.
- You can make sure the baby is still as they eat.
You can avoid letting your child eat during a car or bike ride, as sudden bumps may occur.
Courses in life-saving first aid
It is good to practice how to help someone who is in the throat. There are courses where you get to learn the method by practicing on a practice dock.
There are special courses in first aid and cardiovascular rescue. You can, for example, contact the Child Welfare Center (hospital), the Red Cross, the American Civil Defense Association, the American Council for Cardiac Rescue (CPR) or the American Life Rescue Society to find out where such courses are given.