Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Even if you’re unable to speak, the respondent on the other end of the line should be able to interpret your signs of distress (coughing and finding it difficult to breathe) and send help. This is especially important if you end up losing consciousness due to the choking, according to Denis Kelley, CRP Coordinator at Parkview Health. The next tip is to try to cough as loudly and forcefully as you can. “The cough reflex is still your best friend to try to expel whatever may be stuck or caught,” shared Dr. Sanford Vieder (via SELF).
If this doesn’t work, you can try the Heimlich maneuver on yourself. Make a fist with your hand, with your thumbs pointing inward, and place it under your ribcage and above your navel. Wrap your other hand around the fist and thrust into your stomach in an in-and-up movement, per Medical News Today. This quick motion, done hard and fast, should force air back up and hopefully dislodge that annoying piece of food stuck in your throat. You can also “find something to thrust your abdomen over to dislodge the object, whether it be the back of a chair or a countertop and keep thrusting until the object dislodges,” explained Kelley. If you manage to spit out whatever was causing the blockage, it’s still important to seek medical attention. You could have injured your throat or diaphragm with the Heimlich maneuver or thrusting, so it’s always best to have that checked out.