Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Lynn
Choking occurs when the upper airway is blocked by food or other objects, preventing air to pass normally. Simple choking can cause the afflicted person to cough, but a complete blockage of airways is considered an emergency case requiring fast action. Otherwise death is inevitable. Prompt medical action can effectively save the life of a choking person.
There are many factors that can cause choking. But, it all boils down to the fact that an object is stuck in the upper airway. An adult may experience choking if the food is not chewed properly, or if the person is talking or laughing with food in the mouth. Older adults have higher choking risks if they drink alcohol, take drugs, or are suffering from certain illnesses including Parkinson's disease. On the other hand, young children, especially aged below 5, are more prone to choking because of their habit to put small objects such as toys, coins, or hard candies in their mouths, which can lodge in their throat.
Symptoms of Choking
A person who is experiencing choking may exhibit the following behaviors:
- 2Sign language using the handsAdvertisement
- 3Inability to talk
- 4Coughing or gagging
In case of a choking infant who does not yet have the faculty of language, the following may be observed:
Choking Hazards for Children
Choking in children can be prevented by following these steps:
- 1Allow children to play with appropriate toys recommended for their age. Some toys are made of small pieces that can be disassembled. A single tiny part that get into the hands of a 3-year old toddler can be a choking hazard.
Tips, Tricks and Warning:
- Avoid feeding a crying or laughing baby as food may lodge in the throat.
- Remove the bones and other hard parts of a fish and chicken before serving them to young children.
- Do not allow small kids to feed a baby.
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