We often hear people use this expression in the news, in stories, in movies . “swallowed his tongue” and . What does this mean and why is it so dangerous and can lead to death ? Can anything or anyone change the fatal outcome?
Becoming a first aider is not a big deal, you give a small amount of time to learn knowledge and skill, but it could one day make a difference and save a life.
When a person becomes unconscious, they loose all muscle tone. The tongue being a muscle relaxes and may block the airway (trachea/windpipe) of the victim. The tongue is the most common cause of airway obstruction in an unconscious adult. To reopen the victims airway, we must perform a physical intervention to lift and move the tongue out of the way. The maneuver used to open a victims airway is called a head tilt/chin lift.
How To Give First Aid When Someone Swallows Their Tongue- (Video) With the victim laying face up on a hard firm surface place one hand on the forehead of the victim while grasping the bony portion of the chin with the other. Tilt the head and lift the chin at the same time. This lifts the tongue and creates a pocket for oxygen to travel
When you open the victims airway you may hear sounds of oxygen or gasses escaping and/or may see fluid, vomit, or froth escape from the victims mouth. Anything blocked from the tongue in the trachea will potentially escape when the airway is opened. Do not confuse this with breathing or stop CPR if this occurs.
Even in the most civilized societies in the world where emergency system is developed almost to perfection, average time of arrival of the ambulance at the scene is in order of 5-8 minutes.
The cells in the body begin to die just after 3 minutes without the oxygen !
If you witness the incident, respond immediately by releasing the airways of the victim, than he has a chance to wait for the ambulance and survive.
Do not forget to call an ambulance and periodically check whether the victim is still breathing.
Very often simple acts do wonders and can save lives. It is not required inhuman heroism or a university degree, only a sense of responsibility and a little courage at a critical moment.