How to Recover From a Choking Incident

How to Recover From a Choking Incident. A choking incident is extremely traumatic, for both the victim and the people who witness the episode. Family and friends, in particular, may find themselves badly shaken after watching a loved one struggle for her life. The victim will likely be traumatized as well, and may have sustained injuries or other damage that she will need to recover from. Read on to learn how to recover from a choking incident.

Check to make sure that the victim is breathing normally. She may cough profusely following a choking incident. This is natural and indicates that the obstruction has been cleared.

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Encourage the victim to sit down. An extended period of time without oxygen decreases the blood flow to the brain, which could cause the person to pass out.

Check the person for signs of head injury, especially if the victim was alone when he started choking. He may have fallen down or banged his head in some other way.

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Check for other kinds of injuries, such as ribs that might have been cracked while performing the Heimlich maneuver, whether on another person or yourself.

Check the victim's heart rate to be sure it is normal. Resting heart rate varies with age, but you want to make sure the pulse is regular and strong.

Call 911 in the case of serious injury or persistent dizziness.

Talk about what happened, especially with any children involved. Discuss whether the situation could be avoided or handled better in the future.

Give the affected person extra TLC for the rest of the day, particularly if he is a child. A little extra attention and tenderness will help him recover more quickly.


Make sure everyone in your household knows what to do in case of a choking incident. Being prepared will help family members respond quickly, reducing the risk of serious, lasting damage. Choking incidents are always sudden and unexpected. Children may be especially traumatized by such a close brush with death, but knowing in advance that such an incident is a part of life can help them recover better psychologically after it's over.


Do not continue to perform the Heimlich maneuver once the victim is breathing again. You can do serious damage this way. Once the victim can cough or talk again, no more immediate action should be taken, even if the dislodged object hasn't been ejected. It is often swallowed without the victim's knowledge.