Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer
The "hug of life" is an appropriate name for the
Heimlich maneuver. If someone can't talk and grasps his or her
throat, the person is probably choking, and you may be able to
dislodge the object with the Heimlich maneuver. Here's how:
1. Without delay, stand behind the person
2. Wrap your arms around the person between the
navel and the rib cage. Make a fist with one hand. The thumb of
that hand should rest against the person's upper abdomen.
3. Ask the person to keep his or her head
upright and facing forward.
4. Grab your fist with the opposite hand and
push against the abdomen, delivering four quick, upward thrusts.
(Simply squeezing the abdomen won't work.) Forceful thrusts
should release air from the lungs to the windpipe and expel the
food or other foreign object.
If your first attempt fails, repeat the maneuver, several
times if necessary. You should try to extract the object with
your fingers as a last resort only, because reaching for the
object may push it farther down the throat.
You can use the Heimlich maneuver on a choking victim whether
he or she is conscious or not. Don't use the Heimlich maneuver if
the victim is able to speak or whisper, however, or if he or she
can cough. The windpipe may be only partially blocked, and
forceful coughing may free the lodged item in a minute or so. But
if the object remains stuck and the person is visibly weakening,
perform the maneuver.
Don't use the Heimlich maneuver on a child younger than a year
old. Instead, support the child's head in your hand while he or
she lies face down over your forearm, and deliver four blows to
the back, between the shoulder blades.
If you're choking, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver on
yourself by placing one fist over the other and giving a quick
upward thrust to your abdomen. If this fails, thrust yourself
against the back of a chair, keeping your fist on your upper
Note: The Heimlich maneuver can also be used to
revive near drowning victims. (See Tip 316.)