Signs of choking (complete airway obstruction)

A person who is choking (has complete airway obstruction):

  • Can't cry, talk, breathe, or cough.
  • May grasp throat.
  • May become severely anxious or agitated.
  • May turn blue or dusky in color.
  • May pass out.

A choking rescue procedure (the Heimlich maneuver) is used to clear an obstruction in adults and children older than 1 year. Back blows and abdominal thrusts are used in babies younger than 1 year.

Last Updated: October 8, 2009

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