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Choking and What You Can Do to be Safe

Man choking

Print the full article here!

What is Choking?

When you breathe…

  • air goes through your nose or mouth,
  • and then down a tube called the trachea (sometimes called the “wind pipe”),
  • and then into your lungs.

What is Choking?

If food, or something else, gets into your wind pipe and gets stuck there, then the air you need cannot get to your lungs.

When that happens, you are choking.

Who is in danger of Choking?

Anyone can choke, but

Choking is more likely for someone who:

  • Has cerebral palsy or a seizure disorder.
  • Has few or no teeth, or wear dentures.
  • Has trouble chewing or swallowing.
  • Does not sit up while eating.

What Causes Choking?

Certain behaviors can cause choking. These behaviors include:

  • Talking or laughing while eating.
  • Not chewing food completely, so that large pieces remain in the mouth.
  • Eating too quickly.

How can you tell if Somebody is Choking?

Someone may be choking if they are:

  • Trying to speak, but are not able.
  • Coughing weakly.
  • Breathing noisily or making high pitched sounds.
  • Turning blue in the face.
  • Fainting.
  • Moving around a lot and looking very upset.

If you are choking:

Find someone to help you.

Put your hand on your throat so others will know that you are choking.

If someone else seems to be choking:

Ask whether they are having trouble breathing, and, if they are

Find help, and/or

Call 911.

There are many ways to prevent choking:

  • Cut food into small pieces.
  • Chew slowly and completely before swallowing.
  • Do not talk or laugh while you have food in your mouth.
  • Do not run or play while you have food in your mouth.
  • Eat with other people who can help you, if you do choke.
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SPChoking.pdf 101.72 KB
Last updated on Tue, 06/22/2010 - 10:32