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First aid for a choking adult or child

The following advice shows the first aid treatment for a choking adult or child

Click here for first aid treatment for a choking infant

1. A choking adult or child may have the following symptoms:

Mild obstruction - Casualty is able to speak, cough and breathe.

Severe obstruction - Casualty is unable to speak, cough or breathe, with eventual loss of responsiveness.

2. Encourage the casualty to cough.

3. If they cannot clear the object themselves, support them with one hand while leaning them forwards.

First aid for choking

4. Give up to five back blows, between the shoulder blades.

5. Check their mouth after each back blow to see if the obstruction has cleared.

6. If unsuccessful, try abdominal thrusts (up to five times). Stand behind the casualty and link your hands below their rib cage with the lower hand clenched in a fist. Pull sharply inwards and upwards.

First aid for choking

7. Check their mouth after each back blow to see if the obstruction has cleared.

8. Call 999/112 after the first cycle of back blows and abdominal thrusts.

9. If the casualty is still choking repeat back blows and abdominal thrusts, checking their mouth after each step.

10. Continue cycles as required, or until the paramedics take over.

11. If the casualty becomes unresponsive at any point during the procedure, support them as they fall, while protecting their head. If they stop breathing, start CPR immediately.

12. If abdominal thrusts are used, the casualty should seek medical advice.

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When Tim Ravenhill got to his desk at BT in Cardiff, he thought it was going to be a normal day at the office. He didn’t expect to need first aid, but a medical emergency can happen anywhere

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Free pocket first aid guide

Free pocket first aid guide

Your free guide includes first aid advice for choking, severe bleeding, fractures and unconscious casualties.

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