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  • Writer's pictureLisa Damron

Trying to hit a high operatic note? Or the universal sign for choking?

Did you know that today is National (cough! cough!) Heimlich Maneuver Day? Yes, the ol' Heimlich Maneuver is still used today and is the best method for removing an object from the trachea (windpipe). Created by Dr. Henry J. Heimlich in 1974 this maneuver is also referred to as "Abdominal Thrusts."

According to the National Safety Council, choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death, with over half of the deaths occurring if you are older than 74.

Fortunately, the body is pretty amazing so if the choking person is coughing - listen to the advice of The Beatles and "Let It Be," or should I say, let them cough. Most people are able to cough up what has been partially lodged in their throat. However, what if they are grasping their throat and not making any sound? More than likely they are choking and quick action using the Heimlich Maneuver could be life saving.

When you sign up for a CPR class, you should be taught the Heimlich Maneuver as well. I could list the steps here, however practicing it on a manikin is best and will assure that you will spring into action if ever faced with a choking victim. There is even a technique to use on yourself if no one is around, however it's a little embarrassing so make sure you're really choking first before trying it. Let's just say it involves an interesting maneuver and a chair and looks nothing like a dance move from the musical, Chicago.

Happy chewing (well) and swallowing! And Happy National Heimlich Maneuver Day!

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