The Heimlich maneuver, also known as abdominal thrusts, is an emergency technique used to help a choking victim who is unable to cough, speak, or breathe due to a foreign object blocking their airway. The maneuver is named after Dr. Henry Heimlich, who first described it in 1974. It is a potentially life-saving procedure and should only be performed on individuals who are conscious and actively choking.
Here are the steps for performing the Heimlich maneuver:
1- Stand behind the choking person and place your arms around their waist.
2- Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb side just above the navel and below the ribcage.
3- Place your other hand over your fist and grip it firmly.
4- Give quick, upward abdominal thrusts using your hands, pushing inward and upward. The goal is to force the foreign object out by increasing pressure in the abdomen and helping expel the obstruction.
5- Continue abdominal thrusts until the object is dislodged or the person can cough forcefully or breathe normally.
6- If the person loses consciousness, carefully lower them to the ground and begin CPR, starting with chest compressions.
It's important to note that you should only perform the Heimlich maneuver if you are trained in its proper technique. Incorrect application of the maneuver can cause injury, so it's important to receive proper training in first aid and CPR. If someone is choking, you should also call for emergency medical assistance as soon as possible.
Additionally, if the choking victim is pregnant, obese, or you are unable to perform abdominal thrusts for any reason, you can use back blows and chest thrusts as an alternative method to clear the airway. In all cases of choking, safety and the victim's well-being should be the top priorities, and professional medical help should be sought when necessary.