Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Evaluation Treatment Home Care first aid adults first aid children warning signs Prevention Complications Underlying Cause Types Anatomy

Airway Foreign Body Home Care

First aid for someone who is choking from an inhaled foreign body includes:

  • For a person who is able to cough:
  • For someone who is unable to cough:
    • Perform the Heimlich maneuver
    • Call 911
    • Perform CPR if the person is unconscious.

Home care for those who have had an inhaled foreign body removed includes:
  • Clear liquid diet:
    • For 24 hours.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Avoid exposure to secondary smoke.
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.

Airway Foreign Body First Aid Adults

First aid may be required for an adult with an inhaled foreign body.

American Heart Association Conscious Victim Protocol:

  • Ask, "Are you choking?" If they can talk, they are not choking.
  • Give abdominal thrusts (use chest thrusts for pregnant or obese victim).
  • Repeat thrusts until effective or victim becomes unconscious.

American Heart Association Unconscious Victim Protocol:
  • Perform steps 1-3 above.
  • Activate EMS system.
  • Perform tongue-jaw lift. Perform a finger sweep if a foreign object is visible in the mouth.
  • Open the airway (head tilt-chin lift) and try to ventilate; if still obstructed reposition the head and try to ventilate again.
  • Give 5 abdominal thrusts
  • Repeat steps 3 through 5 until effective

Airway Foreign Body First Aid Children

First aid may be required for an infant or child with an inhaled foreign body.

Infant Victim Protocol

  • Establish inability to ventilate (look, listen, feel)
  • Open airway and try to ventilate
  • If unsuccessful, deliver 5 back blows, followed by 5 chest compressions (depressing no more than 1 inch).
  • If second rescuer available, activate EMS system
  • Look in mouth for foreign object, and perform a finger sweep only if you see an object.
  • If no change, repeat steps 2-4 until effective
  • If single rescuer, and airway obstruction is not relieved after 1 minute, activate EMS system.

Conscious Child Victim Protocol
  • Ask, "Are you choking?" If child talks, then they are not choking.
  • Give abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver).
  • Repeat thrusts until effective or victim becomes unconscious.
  • Activate EMS and begin CPR if victim becomes unconscious.

Unconscious Child Victim Protocol
  • Establish unresponsiveness. If second rescuer available, have them activate EMS system.
  • Open airway and try to ventilate; if still obstructed, reposition head and try to ventilate again.
  • Perform back, chest or abdominal thrusts based on the victim's age.
  • Perform a tongue-jaw lift and perform a finger sweep only if you can see an object.
  • Repeat steps 2 through 4 until effective.
  • If airway obstruction is not relieved after about 1 minute, activate the EMS system.

Airway Foreign Body Warning Signs

Continue to Airway Foreign Body Prevention

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