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Performing the Heimlich maneuver

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Updated: 5/04/2009 11:57 am
The Heimlich maneuver, also known asabdominal thrusts, is used to help remove a foreign object from the throat of achoking victim who can no longer cough, speak or breathe. When someone who'schoking can still speak, cough, or breathe, let them try to dislodge the objectthemselves. If they can't make any sound or can’t breathe, first try five backblows using the heel of your hand between the person’s shoulder blades. Thiswill create vibration in the chest to loosen the matter. If this fails, theHeimlich maneuver is probably required. For a conscious adult, the standardtechnique is to position yourself behind the victim, so your leg is resting inbetween their legs. Make a fist with the thumb sticking up. Put your thumbagainst the person's stomach, about an inch above the belly button. Place yourother hand over that fist; both elbows should be pointing out. Quickly, pullyour fist upwards and inwards, hard enough to free the object. You shouldalternate the five abdominal thrusts with five back blows. The Heimlichmaneuver can be performed on both children and adults, on yourself and even thefamily dog. However, the steps are different in each of these situations. Formore information on performing the Heimlich maneuver, consult a health careprovider or your local Red Cross.
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