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First aid: How to deal with Choking

Here’s what to do if someone is choking, their airway is blocked, and they are unable to breathe properly.

Ask them to cough and try to dislodge the blockage themselves. If this doesn’t work, follow the steps below to help clear the throat.

1. Bend the person forward. With the heel of your hand give them up to five sharp blows on the back, in the space between their shoulder blades. Check the person’s mouth to see if anything’s come up. If it has, ask them to remove it.

2. If blows to the back don’t work, return the person to the upright position again. Stand behind them, wrap your arms around them and link your hands together between their belly button and the bottom of the chest. Pull sharply inwards and upwards up to 5 times.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 up to three times. If the person is still choking, call 999. Then repeat steps 1 and 2 until help arrives.

If the person is unable to breathe and loses consciousness, place them in the recovery position and begin CPR .

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