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We are now going to have a look at a range of signs and symptoms of patients who are choking. We are going to start off with an infant and we are going to go up to an adult. And we are going to look at the different signs and symptoms that they present. Choking itself tends to manifest itself in two different ways. First of all, we tend to get the care sector where patients are either having trouble swallowing due to strokes, paralysis, spinal injuries. These type of stuff where they cannot swallow properly or they cannot get into a posture position where they can swallow properly, which means they are high risk, and they must be labelled as high-risk and monitored through their eating process until they have completely finished and there is no more risk.

Right down to babies where very few babies tend to have choking problems. Choking problems in babies tend to be more mucus, milk, flu, symptoms where they have got a large production of mucus in the back of the throat that is not being cleared. Or sometimes an older child in the family that actually puts something in the airway of the smaller child because they are crying or something like that. So, do not rule it out, but it is quite rare in babies.

Children from the age of one year up tend to be much more common. They tend to be the most prone because they will poke and stick things in places that most people would not end up chewing, gulping their food, but they also tend to play up and be naughty at the table, so they tend to be more prone to swallowing things like cherry tomatoes, grapes whole, and that occludes the airway and creates a huge problem.

Also, remember that the tongue on a child and a baby is much larger in perspective to the mouth than it is on an adult. The airways are much smaller, they are much more supple, they are much easier to actually block off due to posture as well. So, it may just be that the actual position of the baby is in or the child is in, that is creating as much a problem as anything.

Adults tend to panic a lot when it happens but are much more in control of their situation and tend to be able to relieve their choking problems themselves on a lot of occasions. But we do need to remember that all age groups may require help. Signs and symptoms of somebody choking. Well, the first thing is the time of day. Quite often it happens when they are eating food for obvious reasons. So, there is your first clue. The sign that somebody is actually sitting down at the table quite often having a laugh and a joke with friends, they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Somebody says something funny as they are about to eat, they take in a big gulp of air, laughing and suck in a blockage into the back of the throat.

With the elderly, it tends to be balls of meat, beef that is chewed up or things that are not chewed up because their false teeth are away, being repaired or their teeth do not work very effectively so they tend to mash up the food, and then inhale it rather than actually swallow it. They try to swallow too large a lumps basically. But they will panic, they will go red, cyanosed, blue extremities. They will struggle to swallow at all, so they will dribble and salivate. They will panic, thrash around, stagger about the place. They can obviously share it for help. They will tend to grab the throat, they will go for this tightening of the throat, crash around and eventually stagger and collapse. We need to address this situation as fast as we possibly can.

There are two main types. We have got the mild where the airway is still partially open, and they are still getting some breath past it. And then we have got severe, and the severe basically is where there is total occlusion of the airway and they cannot breathe in or out until their airway is clear. And we have to act fast because this is a life-threatening or potentially life-threatening situation. However, with the correct techniques, the abdominal thrusts, the back slaps, the encouragement to cough, we can use an awful lot of very, very simple procedures to eradicate that problem to get the airway back again, to get the airway open for flowing and the patient sits up and recovers. It does not have to be a fatal conclusion. It is only fatal when we do not act and we do not act fast, and the problem just goes spiralling downhill out of control.