Have you seen someone run out of air and suffocate? If not, it is a genuinely harrowing experience. It is even more frightening when it happens to someone you care about. However, human nature often causes us to panic in these situations instead of thinking clearly and taking action.
When a life is on the line, you cannot afford to make any mistakes. That is why knowing what to do if someone starts suffocating is essential. Being prepared will help you remain calm and take the necessary steps to save a life. This guide will show you what to do if someone starts suffocating.
The first thing you need to do is to try and remain calm. It can be challenging to do this when someone you care about is in peril, but it is essential. If you panic, you will not be able to think clearly and take the necessary steps to help the suffocating person.
You can try to take some deep breaths yourself to help you stay calm. This will also help to oxygenate your blood, which will, in turn, help you think more clearly. If this does not work, try focusing on something else in the room and take your mind off the situation.
Check For Obstructions
The next step is to check for any obstructions that may be causing the person to suffocate. This is most commonly caused by something blocking the airway, such as food, vomit, or a foreign object. Usually, this will be evident as the person gasps for air or makes choking sounds.
If you see an obstruction, try to remove it if it is safe. If the object is stuck, do not attempt to remove it yourself, as you could cause further damage. Instead, call 911 and wait for medical help to arrive. You can use tracheostomy supplies to clear the airway if you are trained. If you cannot see anything blocking the airway, try to lift the chin and tilt the head back gently. This will help open the airway and allow oxygen to flow in.
Perform The Heimlich Maneuver
If nothing is blocking the airway and the person is still suffocating, it is time to perform the Heimlich maneuver. This will help to dislodge whatever is causing the obstruction and allow oxygen to flow in.
To perform the Heimlich maneuver:
- Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around their waist.
- Make a fist with your hand and place it just above the navel.
- Grab your fist with your other hand and pull upwards and inwards. You should feel the stomach muscles compress under your fingers.
- Repeat this process until the object is dislodged or the person starts to breathe normally again.
It is important to note that you should only use the Heimlich maneuver on adults and children over one. Infants have a more delicate airway and require a different method of CPR known as the infant Heimlich. It involves placing the infant face-down on your forearm and using your free hand to perform a series of back slaps between the shoulder blades.
CPR is an effective way to circulate oxygenated blood around the body and to the brain. You can use it on adults, children, and infants.
First, check for signs of life such as coughing, breathing, or a pulse to give CPR. If there are no signs of life, start by giving 30 chest compressions. You can do this by placing the heel of your hand on the breastbone and interlocking your fingers. Using your body weight, press down onto the chest 30 times.
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After 30 compressions:
- Give two rescue breaths.
- Tilt the head back and lift the chin to open up the airway.
- Pinch the nose shut and seal your mouth over the person’s mouth.
- Blow into their mouth for one second to make the chest rise.
- Repeat this process until you see signs of life or medical help arrives.
Even if you can dislodge the object and the person starts breathing again, it is crucial to call 911. This is because they may have suffered damage to their airway and will need medical attention.
It is also essential to call 911 if the person does not start breathing after you have given CPR for two minutes. This means that the oxygenated blood is not reaching the brain, and further medical intervention is required.
Helping someone suffocating can be a matter of life and death. It is vital to act quickly and calmly to prevent further damage. First, check for any obstructions that may be causing the problem. If you cannot see anything, try to perform the Heimlich maneuver. If this does not work, give CPR until medical help arrives. Remember to call 911 as soon as possible so the person can get the necessary treatment.