Food or small objects can cause choking if they get caught in your throat and block your airway. This keeps oxygen from getting to your lungs and brain. If your brain goes without oxygen for more than four minutes, you could have brain damage or die.
Young children are at an especially high risk of choking. They can choke on foods like hot dogs, nuts and grapes, and on small objects like toy pieces and coins. Keep hazards out of their reach and supervise them when they eat.
When someone is choking, quick action can be lifesaving. Learn how to do the Heimlich maneuver - on others and yourself - and CPR.
Food and Drug Administration
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
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|Date last updated: 11 July 2008
Topic last reviewed: 08 July 2008