We’ve all seen it happen in movies, TV shows, and in other forms of media. Someone starts to choke at a restaurant. They won’t stop. They fall out of their seat, causing quite a scene. People panic. Soon, someone roars those eternal words: “Is anyone in here a doctor!?”
Usually, you would join the rest of the room and panic for the person who is under so much duress. Normally, that is. Once you learn the Heimlich Manoeuvre, though, such problems soon become a thing of the past. Now, when this (in)famous scenario takes place, you can stand up and tell the room that you can help.
The Heimlich Manoeuvre, then, is one of the most famous moves that you can use. It’s a form of emergency treatment used since the 1970s and has gained major popularity in emergency circumstances.
As you might imagine, it was thought up by someone with the appropriate name: surgeon Henry J. Heimlich. He realized that dealing with choking was something most of us done poorly at, to say the least. It turns out that hammering an elbow into the back of someone is not great for stopping them from choking!
So, what he decided to do was simple: he found a way to use the air of our lungs to push the choking object back up the way, and out of the throat. Amazing, right? Truly. So, one thing that makes the Heimlich Manoeuvre so important to learn is that it can be used on both adults and children. It could literally save the life of you, someone you know, or your children!
Performing the Heimlich Manoeuvre
So, to pull this move off, you need to know what you are doing. With choking such a common cause of death for many people, then you need to know how to use this move: do it wrong, and you could hurt them. So, what you want to do is this:
- Stand behind the person who is choking and wrap your arms around the waist.
- Now, clench one of your hands into a fist, and put it just above their navel.
- Now, hold the fist with your other hand, and then press it in hard, tight, on the area.
- Thrust upwards as you do this, and it should help to force upwards. Repeat 6-10 times.
If you keep on doing this, it will eventually force the problematic piece of food out of the mouth. However, you should make sure that someone has called an ambulance – even if they piss out, keep on going, but make sure you don’t push down on the ribs too much.
Normally, a mixture of hits on the back (lightly) and a few Heimlich maneuvers should be enough to dislodge the food.
Keep these skills in mind, though; they could be essential to saving the life of someone you love – even yourself in the right moment. Now, do you see why it’s so important to know this skill?