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Choking occurs when there is an obstruction in the airway to the lungs. Choking can block the airways which limits the oxygen flow to the brain. If this occurs over a sustained period it can cause serious and possibly fatal, damage to the brain. The common causes of choking are food blockages and swelling of the larynx. If choking is not immediately apparent, signs include difficulty breathing, an inability to talk, muted coughing, loss of consciousness, and the skin, lips and nails turning a blue colour. Methods of helping a person who is choking include performing the Heimlich maneuver, clearing the airway and CPR.

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