Signs of Choking (Complete Airway Obstruction)

A person who is choking (has complete airway obstruction):

  • Can't cry, talk, breathe, or cough.
  • May grasp throat.
  • May become severely anxious or agitated.
  • May turn blue or dusky in colour.
  • May pass out.

A choking rescue procedure (the Heimlich manoeuvre) is used to clear an obstruction in adults and children older than 1 year. Back blows and chest thrusts are used in babies younger than 1 year.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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