National Heimlich Maneuver Day is on June 1 and we are geared up to honor an important method that can help save someone from choking. The Heimlich maneuver is essentially an abdominal thrust where you place your fist slightly above the navel of a person who is choking. Then, with your other hand, you grasp your fist and shove it inward and upward to expel the object on which the person is choking.
History of National Heimlich Maneuver Day
It wasn’t very long ago that these life-saving abdominal thrusts were devised by Dr. Henry J. Heimlich after reading an article in the “New York Times.” In 1972, the article stated that more than 3,000 people died in the U.S. due to choking. Until then, the common method to relieve a person from choking was slapping them on their back, however, several doctors suggested that it might do more harm than good as it might push the object further downwards and cause more damage.
This inspired Dr. Heimlich to devise an improved method to help a choking victim that could be practiced by the public and not just healthcare professionals. He published his informal findings through an essay titled ‘Pop Goes the Café Coronary’ in an issue of “Emergency Medicine” and, today, this is what we all know as the Heimlich maneuver.
The Heimlich maneuver has saved many people over the years. However, doctors recommend that this method only be used on conscious people and that you should call 9-1-1 before you start implementing the maneuver. It’s surprising to note that Dr. Heimlich used the maneuver himself at the age of 96 years when he saved a woman in his nursing home.
National Heimlich Maneuver Day is important as it can save many lives. The dedicated day also kicks off National Safety Month. We all can make a conscious decision to learn more about the method and educate others so that we are prepared the next time an unfortunate choking situation takes place.
National Heimlich Maneuver Day timeline
Dr. Henry Heimlich first publishes his informal findings to help a choking victim in the issue of “Emergency Medicine.”
An editorial in the Journal of the AMA first refers to the procedure as the ‘Heimlich maneuver.’
Dr. Henry Heimlich publishes a peer-reviewed article on the method for the Journal of the AMA titled ‘A Life-Saving Maneuver to Prevent Food-Choking.’
Dr. Heimlich is bestowed with one of the most prestigious awards in American medicine and public health, the Albert Lasker Award for Public Service.
National Heimlich Maneuver Day FAQs
When should you not do the Heimlich maneuver?
It is recommended that it is only used on conscious adults, and not attempted on unconscious people or children.
When must the Heimlich maneuver be used on a person?
It is recommended to only use the Heimlich maneuver when a person is conscious and choking and their life is endangered by a windpipe obstruction.
What is the Heimlich maneuver called now?
The Heimlich maneuver is also called ‘abdominal thrusts.’
How To Observe National Heimlich Maneuver Day
Get certified in first-aid
This National Heimlich Day, why not equip yourself with some life-saving skills that can come into use in emergency situations? Register yourself for a local first-aid class and get certified.
Educate others on the Heimlich maneuver
If you are already trained in the Heimlich maneuver or have enough knowledge about it, you can use it to educate your family and friends. By doing so, you’ll potentially help save many lives in the future.
Learn how to perform the Heimlich maneuver
The Heimlich maneuver is performed in a very specific and defined way. You can learn how to perform it by asking your local healthcare professional, or someone trained in performing the method, or looking up online videos. Your basic training will be extremely useful in emergency situations.
5 Important Facts About Choking You Must Know
The rapid blockage of oxygen to the lungs can be fatal within a few minutes for a choking victim.
Choking is caused when an object is stuck in a person’s narrow airway.
The common risk factors for choking in adults include poorly chewed food, alcohol consumption, and poor dental fittings.
The most noticeable symptoms of choking include coughing, gagging, inability to talk, wheezing, and clutching the throat.
A choking accident cannot be alleviated with slapping on the back but, instead, the Heimlich maneuver’s abdominal thrusts should be used.
Why National Heimlich Maneuver Day Is Important
It prevents avoidable deaths
Choking is a serious life hazard and if there is complete obstruction of the airway, which stops the inflow of oxygen to the lungs, a person can die within four to six minutes. The Heimlich maneuver can help save lives from choking accidents and prevent avoidable deaths.
It has saved thousands of lives
The Heimlich maneuver has already shown its effectiveness and importance over the years since its inception. This method has helped save around 50,000 lives already and continues to save many more.
It can be performed by the public
It is important to note that this method has been specifically devised so that anyone can perform it, not just healthcare professionals. If you encounter a choking accident in public, you can start with the method while help is on its way and try to assist the choking victim.
National Heimlich Maneuver Day dates