When it comes to choking we usually think of food as the primary cause. Choking on food is a risk as food is something we usually eat on a daily basis, however understanding other causes that would make someone more prone to choking is also important.
What is Choking?
Choking is defined as either a partial obstruction (mild) or complete obstruction (severe) of the airway.
The two key factors are:
- First Aid
Who is at risk and why?
Generally, the risk of choking is increased in the following:
- Babies and children
- The elderly
- Those with certain medical or health conditions
Babies and children tend to want to put everything in their mouth. Items including:
- Small batteries
- Small balls
- Grapes (especially whole ones!)
- Hot dogs
- Bottle tops
- Other small objects
Generally anything that is small enough to choke on is a risk.
The elderly could choke on food, medications or hard boiled sweets. It would always be wise to watch and be more aware of Babies, Children and the elderly when they are eating.
Medical or health conditions that can affect the way someone swallows, chews or their ability to maintain a good upright posture will all be an additional risk factor for choking.
Those with certain medical or health conditions including Parkinson’s Disease, History of Strokes, Dementia or anything else that may affect their swallowing, chewing or ability to control how much food they are eating at once also need to be considered when looking at risk. This would be particularly useful for care setting staff and those who work or live with anyone listed above.
Early recognition of choking is important to reduce the time someone’s airway is obstructed for