Did You Know?!
Choking and suffocation are responsible for almost 40% of unintentional injuries in infants under the age of one in Canada.[Ref:3]
If someone chokes (with partial airway obstruction), that person should go right away to the closest Emergency Room, even if the coughing fit is over and the person is feeling better.
Likewise, if someone swallows something that causes progressive pain with each swallow, that person should go the Emergency Room or their local Ears, Nose and Throat specialist.
Avoiding delays can help avoid complications. The choking victim should not have anything more to eat or drink until the foreign body has been removed (or ruled out).
Beware that a foreign body in the bronchi can mimic asthma and a foreign body between the vocal cords of a toddler can mimic croup. Most foreign bodies do not appear clearly on standard Xrays. To help prevent a delay in diagnosis, it’s important to provide the complete choking history to the medical team.
If the suspected foreign body is metal or plastic, bringing a duplicate might doctors determine which forceps will work best for the extraction. If a caustic (alkali) substance is swallowed, try to bring the brand-name and / or packaging to the hospital.