Yes or no? If a person is coughing, that means they are NOT choking.

Got into an argument with someone earlier…which lead me to getting into another argument with someone afterwards about the same thing.

Put simply: If a person is able to cough, that means that are, for sure–100 percent–not choking in the least and will be perfectly okay…yes or no?

I always thought the answer to that was a “no”, but apparently it’s a yes… or so many people are telling me.

Coughing=not choking.
However, that does not mean you walk away. If they’re trying to keep food from going down the wrong pipe, they may lose the battle. Hang around until they tell you they’re good.

The universal sign of choking is hands at throat, a desperate look on the face and absolutely silent. No talking or coughing. Also collapsing.

So if a person is coughing, they are not choking at all, in the least, not even a little bit then? Just a simple yes or no will do.

Choking: First aid

No, they’re not choking.

Okay, coughing means a person isn’t choking at all, thank you. I didn’t know that.

Can you summarize the conversation as neutrally as you can?

Yes, it means that they are not choking at this very moment. That can change, and they could start choking, at which point the coughing will stop.

Stepfather takes a bit of food and immediately begins coughing hard, panicking, and pointing at his throat
Mom (sitting right next to him): You’ll be fine…you’re not choking at all if you’re coughing.
stepfather eventually spits out the food that was partially lodged in his throat into the sink
Me (coming out of the bedroom): Actually, a person can still be choking and cough, if it’s only cutting off partial access to the lungs.
Mom: No…wrong. You cannot cough if you’re choking. Not at all. You’re completely silent. I knew he was gonna be fine because he was still able to cough.

cue minor argument where I keep claiming a choking person can cough and she says they can’t, until I got tired of it and walked away, only to make a FB status about it, where half the people who replied to it told me I was right and half told me I was wrong
I still maintain, however, that a person can be choking (with food stuck in their throat, but not cutting off their oxygen entirely), yet coughing (thus, choking).
Now the actual definition of “choking” might not mean “partial blockage”, but if it’s interfering with a person’s ability to breathe, I’d find it hard not to call that “choking”. shrug

I have to say, I’m with you on this one. The first reaction, almost a semi-instinct (e.g. breathing) is a coughing fit to expel the item that is choking you. I think your mom might be confusing asphyxiating with choking.

Seems to me rigidly defining “choking” as being a *total *blockage is not a great idea.

My paramedic uncle said if they person can talk they aren’t choking.

He didn’t say cough. So I would tend to not ignore a coughing person.

As a (former)certified Red Cross CPR instructor Trainer, we taught that if any air was getting in or out, it was best to leave the person to try to clear it themselves. If they are coughing, there is air pushing it out. If you surprise them, it can cause a sudden inrush of air, which may lodge it deeper.
You would only want to intervene if they could get no airflow at all. Of course, these courses do change as new data come in, and I haven’t held that certification in about 15 years.

If a person is able to cough they have some air moving into their lungs. So I figure you should not give any amateur treatment for choking. These techniques are designed to move objects in the victim’s throat. And you might end up moving the object so that it closes off their breathing.

If the victim is already not breathing when you start, go ahead and try something. It’s an emergency and you’re not going to make things worse. But if the victim is able to breathe, then it’s no longer an immediate emergency and you have time to get the victim to real medical help.

No, I think coughing can mean a person isn’t choking completely. They may be partially choking and need medical attention.

Yes, they can be choking.

From Running Coach’s cite:

Yes, you will generally be told be to leave someone alone who is coughing, but you need to pay attention to the totality of the symptoms. If they are coughing weakly, wheezing, drooling a lot (a sign that drool cannot get past the obstruction), they cannot speak, they are having trouble standing, or they are turning blue. I have been involved in a few cases where the Heimlich maneuver did have to be used. Especially with children, grabbing the throat is not always an indicator.

I’m with others here. If you’re choking, you can’t breathe. If you’re coughing, you’re breathing. Never perform the Heimlich maneuver on someone who can breathe.

Do stand by in case they need help, though. And always announce your intentions and ask if they need help. If you surprise someone who’s coughing and just grab the person from behind, as others said, you may force the object deeper into their throat.

One of the very, very few accurate depictions of choking in the movies is Mrs. Doubtfire.

Note how at first, Pierce Brosnan is gasping and coughing, but still breathing. Sally Field slaps him on the back, which only serves to force the food deeper down his throat, at which point he goes completely SILENT. The only discrepancy there is that a real choking person would be a LOT more panicked.

Keep in mind, if a person has food stuck in his throat, he’s still in distress even if he’s able to breathe. So there’s a really big difference between standing by and offering to help and trying to keep him calm, as opposed to merely shrugging it off by saying, “Oh, you’re coughing so you can still breathe, not my concern.”

Taking a look at guide cards at our 911 centre, the card for choking indicates a patient suspected of choking who is coughing warrants a Priority level (the top level) of response from EMS. Lights, sirens, hauling ass. This could go very wrong. Yes, this patient may be choking. To death.

Other factors warranting this Priority level response when choking is suspected include: unconsciousness, inability to talk or cry, turning blue, displaying universal choking sign, gagging, difficult/labored/noisy breathing, drooling, and bleeding from in/around the mouth.