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The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

First Aid with Anthea Savage

Monday, 21 December 2009

First Aid with Anthea SavageFirst Aid with Anthea Savage


Christmas brings its fair share of accidents in the home, with small toys, decorations and food around the house that can be a choking hazard to young children. There are a lot of distractions in the home at this time of year so we can be less vigilant than normal. Anthea is here to show us how to deal with a choking baby or toddler, and how to avoid it happening. We are also a bit more relaxed over the holidays, so it's a reminder to keep aware of what's going on around the house. Also this time of year emergency services are at their busiest so it's important to know how to deal with incidents such as choking on the spot.


.Anthea will speak about the following:


. Symptoms of choking


. How to deal with infants who are choking
. How to deal with adults / children who are choking
. How to reduce your child's chances of choking

Choking


Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the windpipe, blocking the flow of air. In adults, this is often a piece of food; in children it can be any small object that they have put in their mouth. The most common objects include buttons, money, food, beads etc.


Early recognition of the signs and symptoms of a blocked airway is the key to a successful outcome.


What to do if an infant is choking


Signs & Symptoms
Mild obstruction


. The infant can breath
. They can cough
. They may wheeze between coughs and appear distressed


If coughing:


. Lift them up and observe them closely
. Reassure the infant
. Make sure they don't get into further difficulty


Severe Airway Obstruction


. The infant is unable to breath
. Poor or absent cough
. High pitched noise while inhaling or no noise
. Becomes blue in color
. Unable to cry


If they start to get into difficulty where they can no longer cough effectively, breathe or make high pitched noises you must commence a combination of back blows and chest trusts. To do this:


. Kneel or sit with the infant in your lap
. Lay the infant along your arm with their head facing downwards. Make sure you support the head and jaw with your hand
. Give 5 back slaps between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
. Turn the baby over again supporting the head
. Give 5 chest thrusts with 2 fingers just below the center of the nipple line
. Continue this alternating between back blows and chest thrusts until the object is coughed up.
If the infant doesn't cough the object up and become unresponsive
. Lay them onto a hard surface
. Call for help
. Start the steps of Basic Life Support but each time you open the airway, look into the mouth beforehand to see if there is anything there. Remove the object if you can see it being careful not to block the airway further.


What to do if an adult or child is choking


Signs & Symptoms


Mild obstruction
. The person can breath
. They can cough and are respnsive
. They may wheeze between coughs and appear distressed


If coughing
.Stay with the person and observe them closely
Encourage coughing
Reassure the person
Make sure they don't get into further difficulty
Severe Airway Obstruction


. The child / adult is unable to breath
. Poor or absent cough
. High pitched noise while inhaling or no noise
. Becomes blue in color
. Unable to speak
. Clutching the neck with their hands i.e. making the universal choking sign


If the person presents with the above signs or symptoms
If they start to have difficulty breathing, can no longer cough or speak and make the universal choking sign (two hands around neck) ask are they choking and if they nod their head start abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) until the object becomes dislodged


How give abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver)


. Stand behind the person and put your arms around their waist.
. Make a fist with one hand and place it between the navel (belly button) and bottom of the breastbone - grasp it with the other hand.


. Lean the person slightly forward and pull sharply into the abdomen, with a quick upwards thrust. Repeat until the obstruction is dislodged.


If the person collapses and becomes unresponsive
Lay them gently onto the floor


Call for help


Start the steps of CPR but each time you open the airway, look into the mouth and remove the object if you can see it. If you can't see the object continue the steps of Basic Life Support
How to treat a pregnant person / obese adult
Its very similar to a choking adult except;
Stand behind the person


Place your hands on the centre of the chest and pull straight back. If they become unresponsive start Basic Life Support
How can I lower my child's risk of choking?


Don't give children younger than four foods or small objects likely to lodge in the windpipe. Troublesome foods include nuts of any kind, sunflower seeds, cherries (unless you remove the pits and slice up the fruit), chewing gum, hard sweets, popcorn, raw carrots, raw peas, raw celery, watermelon with seeds, and spoonfuls of peanut butter. Hot dogs, sausages, cheese, and grapes also frequently cause choking, so be sure to chop them into pieces before serving. In fact, all foods should be cut into small pieces.


Always supervise mealtime, and make sure babysitters, other carers, and older siblings know which foods are off-limits for small children. Also, make it a rule that your toddler must sit down while eating (eating while walking, running, or playing increases the risk of choking) and must never eat while riding in a car seat (you or another driver might not be able to respond quickly if your child chokes).


Small toys can pose a danger, too. For children, rubber balloons are a leading cause of death from choking, so warn your child never to chew on a piece of a rubber balloon or put his mouth on an inflated balloon. Other risky objects include coins, marbles, small batteries, pen or marker caps, and toys that can fit in your child's mouth.


Useful websites and for info on First Aid courses:


www.firstaid.ie
www.redcross.ie
www.orderofmalta.ie
www.irishheartfoundation.ie


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