Performing the Heimlich Maneuver on Yourself

Local News

Charleston, S.C. (WCBD): All week long we’re bringing you tips on how to save yourself when you’re alone.

Dr. Matt Blue, an emergency room physician with Roper St. Francis, says the key is to remain calm and think clearly.

If you feel like you’re choking but are able to talk, cough, or breathe, you are not in immediate danger. 

Dr. Blue says, “Often people think choking is in their esophagus or food pipe instead of their windpipe while that can be uncomfortable, it’s not terribly dangerous in the acute phase”.

If you cannot talk, cough, or breathe, you need to work quickly to remove the obstruction.

In many cases, people have the tendency to reach in their mouth to try and pull the whatever is there out, but this usually isn’t possible

Dr. Blue says at this point the best chance for survival is the modified Heimlich Maneuver.

The technique causes you to force air up and out of the lungs by striking a solid object between your belly button and ribs. 

You can lean against the back up a chair or kitchen counter or the arm of the sofa something that is solid to apply pressure to the upper abdomen to allow the pressure to push up on the diaphragm to push the air inside your lungs up and out whatever is blocking your airway.

You’ll need to use repetitive force, but knowing this technique could save your life.

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