Foreign object swallowed
First aid: Foreign object swallowed
If you swallow a foreign object, it will usually pass through your digestive system uneventfully. But some objects can lodge in your esophagus, the tube that connects your throat and stomach. If an object is stuck in your esophagus, you may need to remove it, especially if it is:
If a person who has swallowed an object is coughing forcefully, encourage him or her to continue coughing and do not interfere. If a swallowed object blocks the airway and the person's condition worsens (the cough becomes silent or their breathing becomes more difficult), the American Red Cross recommends the "five-and-five" approach to first aid:
If you're the only rescuer, perform back blows and abdominal thrusts before calling 911 or your local emergency number for help. If another person is available, have that person call for help while you perform first aid.
If the person becomes unconscious, help him or her to the ground and begin CPR. With attempted breaths, check the mouth for an object and if visible remove it. Do not perform a "blind finger sweep" because this could push an object farther into the airway.
The American Heart Association does not teach the back-blow technique, only the abdominal thrust procedures. It's OK not to use back blows if you have not learned the back-blow technique. Both approaches are acceptable.
To perform abdominal thrusts (the Heimlich maneuver) on someone else:
A modified version of the technique is sometimes taught for use with pregnant or obese people. The rescuer places his or her hand in the center of the chest to compress, rather than in the abdomen.
To perform abdominal thrusts (the Heimlich maneuver) on yourself:
Last Updated: 2011-11-08
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