How To Determine If Someone Is Choking?

Choking is a leading cause of accidental death across the globe. It’s also a common occurrence, with approximately 325,000 choking incidents occurring each year. Choking is most often caused by food or other small objects that have become lodged in the throat or windpipe (trachea). If you suspect someone may be choking, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Look for signs of choking

If you see someone Choking First Aid Australia, you mustn’t attempt to give them first aid without knowing for sure.

If a person is choking, they will likely exhibit some or all of the following symptoms: coughing, gagging and spitting, gasping for breath or turning blue in the face (due to lack of oxygen), pale skin tone due to loss of blood flow, swollen tongue due to blockage of airway passages and drooling or vomiting.

If your loved one looks like they are choking on something solid such as food particles or a piece of candy bar wrapper (or anything else), try doing a Heimlich maneuver on them as soon as possible. This technique works by forcing air into their lungs through chest compressions—which can dislodge whatever is blocking their windpipe from being removed naturally by coughing up mucus from their lungs.

Choking First Aid Australia

Step 2 – Ask Person if they are Choking and Need Help

To determine if someone is Choking First Aid Australia, ask them if they are. If they cannot answer you, or if their answer is unclear or incoherent, they may be choking and need immediate assistance.

Try asking the person a few questions to see how effective their coughing reflex is:

  • Can you cough? This question can help determine whether or not your loved one needs help breathing. If he or she replies with an unintelligible sound, it may be due to airway obstruction caused by food particles blocked in the throat and esophagus. A weak “cough” could mean that he/she’s having difficulty breathing due to pressure on his/her lungs from something blocking his/her airway (like water).

Step 3 – Call Local Emergency Number

You should call emergency number  if you are in a remote area. If you aren’t sure what the local emergency number is, look it up on the internet or ask someone before proceeding with the Heimlich Maneuver. The best scenario is to have a first responder present when performing the Heimlich Maneuver so that they can take over if needed and continue administering care after you’ve dislodged whatever was blocking their airway. Don’t assume that someone else has called for help either; make sure to do so yourself as soon as possible!

Step 4 – Encourage Person to Keep Coughing to Clear the Airway

If the person is coughing, continue to encourage them to cough. Repeat “cough” or “cough harder” and make sure that they are doing it correctly.

If the person is not coughing, ask them if they can cough. If they respond that they cannot, tap on their back as hard as possible between their shoulder blades with a closed fist (if no one else is close by who could provide this assistance). Repeat this until the victim begins to cough on his/her own or until help arrives.


If you are with a person who is in need of medical attention, it is important to stay calm and help them as quickly as possible. If they go limp or unconscious, call the emergency number immediately. Getting certified by Choking First Aid Australia course can be a big benefit.