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How To Save Yourself From Choking

Feb 29, 2016

We know what to do if a friend or child is choking, but what if it's you who is suffocating and there's nobody around to perform the Heimlich maneuver? Would you know what to do? I'm speaking from experience when I say it's a terrifying situation that you never want to be in. When it happened to me several years ago, I thrust my abdomen into a desk to dislodge the chunk of potato that had blocked my airway. It seemed like a funny story at the time, but looking back, those few seconds meant life or death – which is why everyone needs to see the life-saving tip in this video.

As a firefighter and paramedic, Jeff Rehman is definitely somebody you'd want around in an emergency. Even he, however, had to admit that there was no real solution for someone who is choking and alone. Interestingly, Jeff found the answer in some advice a boxing coach had given him years earlier. Although his coach originally taught it to him as an ab-strengthening exercise, a side effect of the (admittedly rough) move is a large expulsion of air. With his medical and boxing background coming together in an unexpected way, Jeff was onto something. 

As he notes, this solution would not work for pregnant women or those who are unable to kneel on the ground. In those cases, one should make their hand into a fist, and press it into the area below the rib cage and above the navel with quick, upward movement. Using your other hand to add strength, or finding a desk or other piece of furniture, as I did, can give you more leverage. If you'd like to learn more, check out this information on CPR certification from the American Heart Association. It's training you hope you'll never need, but you'll be glad to have in a time of crisis. 

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