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Someone is Choking? How to Save their Life.

You do not need to be a doctor to be able to save a life in common emergency situations. If you happen to be at a banquet or on a dinner table and someone chokes on their food, you can save their life.


Why do people choke on food? Usually when we swallow our food, the entrance to our lungs is closed while the entrance to the stomach opens. In some instances, the entrance to the lungs and stomach are open when we swallow, especially when we talk while eating. This way, food can slip from going into the stomach and go into the air passage way, blocking the respiratory tract and manifesting as choking.

When you choke, air is not delivered to the lungs. Hence, the body is deprived of oxygen. When the body is deprived of oxygen, you can die if nothing is done.

So what do you do when someone close to you is choking? You save their life. And this is how to do it.

It is important to note that you undertake the following steps when and only when the person who is choking had stopped coughing. If the person in question is still coughing, you MUST not do anything other than encourage them to keep coughing.

Once they stop coughing, it means their airways have completely been obstructed and this is when you need to step in.


1) Lean the person slightly and stand behind him or her

2) Make a fist with one hand.

3) Put your arms around the person and grasp your fist with the other hand near the top of the abdomen, just below the centre of the ribcage.


4) Make a quick hard movement inward and upward.

It’s that simple huh?

Now go save a life!!!

About Dr. Emaediong Akpan-Ekpo

Dr. Emaediong Akpan-Ekpo
Dr. Emaediong Akpan-Ekpo is a young physician leader with outstanding and extensive research experience in Maternal Health (MH), Reproductive Health (RH) and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

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