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Breathing Problems and Choking (6 of 11)

Our body relies on oxygen to work properly, without oxygen the survival time could vary from 1 to 3 minutes. So, someone who is having breathing problems is in need of immediate medical attention. Common cause for such problems is air passage block.

General reasons for developing mild or severe air passage block include:

  • Asthma

  • Swelling of the lining of the airway, can be related to allergic reactions (eggs, peanuts, stings by insects and bees)

  • Food, or small object, like medication pill, going down in to the air passage instead of stomach

  • Infections

  • Injuries to vital organs (head, stomach, etc.)

If the victim is developing an asthma attack, he/she might experience mild or severe breathing problems. Usually, the person will have
the necessary medication, which should relieve the symptoms quickly. Check with the victim whether the medications are available and get it if out of reach.

In case of an allergic reaction, common treatment includes epinephrine, and can be injected through cloth. Verify the expiration date prior to administering.

When the victim is choking, older than 1 year of age, give abdominal thrusts (Heimlich Maneuver). It's not recommended for choking in infants under age 1. These thrusts push the air out of lungs, causing an artificial cough, which will help remove the foreign body that is blocking the airway of the victim.

If the person is sitting or standing, stand behind him or her. Form a fist with one hand and place your fist, thumb side in, just below the person's rib cage in the front. Grab your fist with your other hand. Keeping your arms off the person's rib cage, give four quick inward and upward thrusts. Repeat until the obstructing object is coughed out or emergency personnel arrive.

If the person is lying down or unconscious, place the heel of your hand just above the waistline. Place your other hand on top of this hand. Keeping your elbows straight, give four quick upward thrusts. Repeat this several times until the obstructing object is coughed out or emergency personnel arrives.

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