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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 color.
  • May pass out.

A choking rescue procedure (the Heimlich maneuver) 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.

Last Revised: July 3, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD

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