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Do you know how to perform the Heimlich?

Johnson City Press • Dec 2, 2017 at 12:00 AM

The holidays bring parties with a lot of food and drink, so it’s understood that this is a season when many Americans will gain a few pounds. It is also a time when Christmas joy can quickly turn to tragedy.

More than 3,000 adults die in this country annually because they accidentally inhale rather than swallow food. The food blocks their trachea, making breathing impossible.

Many could have been saved by the Heimlich maneuver. It is a simple procedure that every American should know, particularly during the holiday season when food is often the centerpiece of family gatherings.

To perform the Heimlich on a conscious adult, the rescuer should stand behind the victim (who may either be sitting or standing). The rescuer makes a fist with one hand, and places it — thumb toward the victim — below the rib cage and above the waist.

Next, the rescuer encircles the victim’s waist — placing his other hand on top of the fist — and performs a series to six to 10 sharp thrusts upward and inward that will create pressure to push the object out of the trachea.

There are Americans alive today because someone loved them enough to learn the Heimlich maneuver. Who do you care about this holiday season?

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