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When is National Heimlich Maneuver Day?

National Heimlich Maneuver Day is June 1st.

What is National Heimlich Maneuver Day?

It’s no combat training exercise or jiu-jitsu move. The Heimlich Maneuver is still pretty cool though. It’s a lifesaver, and National Heimlich Maneuver Day celebrates this procedure by promoting Heimlich Maneuver training.

Dr. Henry J. Heimlich devised the Heimlich Maneuver only as recently as 1974. The operation consists of abdominal thrusts for choking victims. It’s a fairly simple procedure, though there’s more to it than you see on the movies.

It’s not without controversy though. Dr. Heimlich was a slick guy accused of using intimidation instead of science to publicize his ideas. The Red Cross recommends back blows and abdominal thrusts—notably not referring to the Heimlich maneuver—for choking victims who are still conscious.

Controversy aside, National Heimlich Maneuver Day is a good day to read up on how to help choke victims. Below are instruction on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver.

How National Heimlich Maneuver Day saved my wife!

When I formed National Day Archives to host national days (and allow the public to create new national days) I had no idea that it would save my wife’s life. By gathering all national days and organizing them into a user friendly registration web site, I read how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver.

Recently, I was seated next to my wife during dinner at our home with friends. One of my friends shouted, “Your wife is choking!” I didn’t know it at first. Because her airway was completely cut off she could not utter a sound. As I turned, I saw fear on her face that was down right frightening. Her eyes were as big as silver dollars as she lunged about trying to get air. I told her to stand and got behind her. I made a fist with my left hand, cupped it with my right hand. Placing my hand just below her ribs I pulled in an upward motion that made her rise to to toes. I had to do this 5 or 6 times before the food dislodged and she could breath. In just that instance, her life hung in the balance. Brain damage can start just minutes and it takes at least that long for an ambulance. In short, I saved my wife’s life. Afterwards, my wife recalled that while she was choking time stood still. Everything was in slow motion and she could not really hear any sounds. She was moments from blacking out. But just that quickly it was over and we went on to enjoy our meal. The next day we went to the hospital and had an X-ray since her ribs hurt. None were broken, but she was sore for a few weeks. Definitely happy to be alive.  

I am so glad I love national days, and read how to do the Heimlich Maneuver. I hope that everyone celebrates this day by learning how to do it. 

Facts about National Heimlich Maneuver Day!

  • Before helping a choking person, it’s important to get consent, especially consent from parents/guardians for helping a choking child.
  • The Heimlich Maneuver should not be performed on unconscious people.
  • First aid for choking infants differs greatly because their bones are so much weaker than children and adults.
  • Someone should call 9-1-1 anytime the Heimlich is performed.
  • Dr. Heimlich also firmly advocated using his maneuver for drowning victims, but no major lifesaving agency recommends it any more.

How to celebrate National Heimlich Maneuver Day:

Read the following instruction on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver or look for training near you. Take some friends, and make it a group event. Share this web page with others. It just might save a life, like it saved my wife’s life!

The Mayo Clinic describes how to perform Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts). Here is what the website states:

  • Stand behind the person.Place one foot slightly in front of the other for balance. Wrap your arms around the waist. Tip the person forward slightly. If a child is choking, kneel down behind the child.
  • Make a fist with one hand.Position it slightly above the person’s navel.
  • Grasp the fist with the other hand.Press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust — as if trying to lift the person up.
  • Perform between six and 10 abdominal thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.

How to perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself

According to the Mayo Clinic, to perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself: “place a fist slightly above your navel. Grasp your fist with the other hand and bend over a hard surface. Shove your fist inward and upward.”

To clear the airway of an unconscious person: 

According to the Mayo Clinic, to perform the Heimlich maneuver on an unconscious person:

  • Lower the person on his or her back onto the floor, arms to the side.
  • Clear the airway. If a blockage is visible at the back of the throat or high in the throat, reach a finger into the mouth and sweep out the cause of the blockage. Don’t try a finger sweep if you can’t see the object. Be careful not to push the food or object deeper into the airway, which can happen easily in young children.
  • Begin CPR if the object remains lodged and the person doesn’t respond after you take the above measures. The chest compressions used in CPR may dislodge the object. Remember to recheck the mouth periodically.

What’s the hashtag for National Heimlich Maneuver Day?

On social media, use #HeimlichManeuverDay to promote first aid for choke victims.