First Aid

What To Do: Partial & Complete Choking


Partial Choking

What To Look For

Typical signs of partial choking include the following

  • A look of panic, with wide eyes
  • Forceful or weak coughing
  • One or both hands clutching the throat
What To Do

CALL Rescue. It is not usually necessary to call for help for partial choking, though you may need to do so if the obstruction does not clear or the person’s condition worsens.

  1. If the person is coughing or can speak, encourage him or her to cough forcefully, and do not interfere. Forceful coughing may be enough to clear the obstruction on its own.
  2. Encourage or assist the person to sit upright, if possible, as this will make coughing easier and more effective.
  3. Continue to monitor the person’s condition until either the obstruction clears itself or the person’s condition worsens.

Complete Choking

What To Look For

The signs and symptoms of complete choking include the following.

  • An inability to speak, cough, or breathe
  • High-pitched squeaking noises
  • Flushed (red) skin that becomes bluish or paler than normal
  • A look of panic with wide eyes
  • One or both hands clutching the throat
What To Do
  • If possible, send someone to call EMS/9-1-1 and get an AED while you care for the person.
  • If you are alone, immediately begin providing care for complete choking. Shout for help to try to attract the attention of a bystander, but do not delay care by calling EMS/9-1-1 yourself.

Try to dislodge the object by combining any two of the following three options: back blows, abdominal thrusts, and chest thrusts. Continue alternating between the two methods until the object comes out, the person begins to breathe, or the person becomes unresponsive.

You may need to adapt which combination of the methods you use depending on the specific circumstances. For example, if the person is pregnant, or you cannot fully reach around the person, you will not be able to provide abdominal thrusts and will therefore have to do a combination of back blows and chest thrusts.

Back Blows
  1. Stand behind the person (or kneel, if you are significantly taller) and wrap one arm diagonally across the person’s chest.
  2. Bend the person forward at the waist until the upper airway is at least parallel to the ground.
  3. With the heel of your free hand, deliver up to 5 firm back blows between the shoulder blades.
Abdominal Thrusts
  1. Stand behind the person and ensure that your stance is stable. If the person is much shorter than you are, it may be more effective to kneel.
  2. Wrap your arms around the person’s waist, make a fist, and place it just above the belly button.
  3. Cover your fist with your other hand and give up to 5 quick, inward and upward thrusts into the person’s abdomen.
Chest Thrusts
  1. Stand behind the person (or kneel, if you are significantly taller) and wrap both of your arms around the person’s chest, just under the armpits.
  2. Make a fist and place it in the middle of the person’s chest, with your thumb facing inward, and place your other hand over your fist.
  3. Give up to 5 chest thrusts by pulling straight back toward you. If you find your thrusts are not effective, pull more sharply and deeply.


The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
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