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Being in the vicinity of someone who is choking can make you feel terrified and helpless. Choking occurs when an object blocks a victim’s airway, making it difficult or impossible for the person to breathe normally. When someone is choking, whether on food or a non-food, it is an emergency situation. If the object can be dislodged in time, you can help save a life and prevent injury from reduced airflow.

Read on to learn about five common choking hazards and how BLS certification can help keep you safe. Click here for additional information.

Who Is Vulnerable to Choking?

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People at both ends of the age spectrum (the very young and very old) are most vulnerable to choking. People who have a disability that makes it difficult for them to use their swallowing muscles are also vulnerable—this is often the case in people with neurologic disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. However, anyone can become a choking victim. Your odds increase if you are distracted, eating on the go, or eating handfuls of food at once.

What are the Most Common Choking Hazards?

Choking hazards come in many forms. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that food is the culprit in pediatric choking episodes more than 50 percent of the time. These five items are some of the most common choking hazards, especially when it comes to children.

1. Hard Candy

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Children under the age of 14 are at risk of choking on hard candies—such as lollipops, suckers, or other spherical or oval-shaped objects. In fact, one study showed that hard candy accounted for the greatest number of emergency department visits for food-related nonfatal choking episodes over an eight-year period.

2. Meat

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Steak, hot dogs, and other types of meat are significant choking hazards, especially when it comes to young children and elderly people. Meat requires significant chewing prior to swallowing; otherwise, it could get stuck in the airway or on its way down the esophagus.

3. Nuts

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Nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, and pistachios, are often the perfect-sized objects to block the airway and cause choking. In fact, the AAP recommends that children younger than age 4 should avoid eating whole nuts.

4. Big Pieces of Fruit

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You may be tempted to toss a couple of juicy grapes into your mouth at once. However, this is a common choking hazard for both children and adults. If a whole grape gets lodged right at the entrance to your windpipe, it can completely block the flow of air in and out of your lungs.

5. Balloons

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A deflated balloon can be a counterintuitive—and tricky—choking hazard. Even though a deflated balloon is not a hard or spherical object, if it is accidentally inhaled, it can seal off the entrance to your windpipe making it impossible to transfer air in or out of your lungs.

How Can BLS Certification Keep You Safe?

During BLS certification, you will learn about the risk factors that can lead to choking, and how to help a choking victim. You will learn techniques based on a choking victim’s age and health status (for example, the technique used to help a pregnant female who is choking is different from the technique used to help a non-pregnant woman). You will also learn about the next steps to take if your attempts to help a choking victim are not successful. Once you fully understand the process of choking and choking rescue, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

How to Learn More about BLS

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If you are interested in learning more about BLS certification and how it can increase your confidence when it comes to helping a choking victim, visit us today.

Part of first aid training

If you believe that Basic Life Support is a separate course, it is not. Therefore, you won’t have to get yourself enrolled in a separate course. If you are having first aid training, BLS will be a part of it. Therefore, you will not only learn about different life-saving techniques but also basic life support too.

Who should get a BLS training

The Basic Life Support training is especially useful for people who work around children. These professions include teachers, health care workers, daycare providers, security personals and also social care workers.

Besides, if you live around a person who has cardiovascular issues, you will need this training as well. Although the medical personnel come under this category but not everyone can afford a personal care worker. Therefore, if someone in your home suffers from any cardiovascular issue and you cannot afford a personal care provider, you will need this training too.

What you will learn there

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First aid training courses teach you about rescue methods and life-saving techniques. One of the complex techniques that you will learn there will be cardiopulmonary resuscitation. You might have heard it as a CPR technique.

In addition to this, you will learn about many other things.

Starting from the basic level of your training, you will learn about;

  • To secure proper circulation
  • Ensuring proper breathing
  • Make sure the airways are working uninterrupted

You will be able to do so after getting the basic training. This will allow you to keep a person alive before the ambulance arrives. For example, you were passing by a roadside and see someone choking. If you have the training, you will be able to get rid of the thing in the airway.

Because if someone does not do so, the person won’t be able to breathe and might die even before he gets any medical treatment. Blockage of the airway means that your lungs are not getting any air. Eventually, your blood oxygen level will drop down and you will die if you do not get any timely treatment.

On the other hand, ambulances take a while to arrive. Someone is choking, others will try to understand the situation. That person might just be coughing or in the worst case, trying to breathe. Unless he falls down, no one might consider calling an ambulance. So if he faints, the situation is already worse. Calling the ambulance at that time might be too late and the person might not be able to live by that.

But that does not mean that you should not call the ambulance. Doing so is the right thing because they can at least try to do some rescue work.

Later in your training, you will learn about;

  • CPR for infants, children, and adults
  • BLS and the AHA survival chain
  • Getting rid of airway obstruction
  • Timely use of AED
  • The use of a barrier device for an effective ventilation
  • Working together in groups will be helpful in a multi rescuer CPR