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Breathing consists of two phases: inspiration, the period when oxygen flows into the lungs, and expiration, the period when carbon dioxide leaves the lungs. Every part of your body needs oxygen. Oxygen allows cells to release needed energy for the muscular work of dancing. Both phases can be either passive or forced.

The active process of inhalation and exhalation is a more forced act of breathing. This can be described as deeper breathing and uses more musculature for inspiration and expiration. You may find yourself breathing deeper chokingwhile executing jumping combinations or when the choreography requires more challenging muscle work. Organizing the process of breathing will reduce tension in the upper body, improve oxygen flow to your muscles, and engage your core muscles. All of the exercises in this chapter will help you organize your breathing.


Choking is a medical emergency. When a person is choking, air cannot reach the lungs. If the airways cannot be cleared, death follows rapidly.

Anyone can choke, but choking is more common in children than in adults. Choking is a common cause of accidental death in young children who are apt to put toys or coins in their mouths, when you’re buying toys for your children this season, be sure to keep safety in mind. Children younger than 5 years old are entirely dependent on adults for decisions about toy safety. Public-interest groups such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission make news with annual warnings about unsafe toys, but the message cannot be repeated too often: Common sense must be your shopping guide when buying toys for children of all ages.

People also choke because infection causes the throat tissue to swell shut. It is believed that this is what caused George Washington’s death. Allergic reactions can also cause the throat to swell shut. Acute allergic reactions are called anaphylactic reactions and may be fatal. Strangulation puts external pressure on the trachea causing another form of choking. About 3,000 adults die each year from choking on food.

Finally, people can choke from obstructive sleep apnea. This is a condition where tissues of the body obstruct the airways during sleep. Sleep apnea is most common in obese men who sleep on their backs. Smoking, heavy alcohol use, lung diseases such as emphysema, and an inherited tendency toward a narrowed airway and throat all increase the risk of choking during sleep.


• Coughing or gagging

• Hand signals and panic (sometimes pointing to the throat)

• Sudden inability to talk

• Clutching the throat: The natural response to choking is to grab the throat with one or both hands. This is the universal choking sign and a way of telling people around you that you are choking.


• Passing out

• Turning blue: Cyanosis, a blue coloring to the skin, can be seen earliest around the face, lips, and • fingernail beds. You may see this, but other critical choking signs would appear first.

• If an infant is choking, more attention must be paid to an infant’s behavior. They cannot be taught the • universal choking sign.

• Difficulty breathing

• Weak cry, weak cough, or both


 If the victim is able to cough and breathe partially then it is a clear indication that the air tube is not blocked completely and giving few slaps on the back of the person could get him rid out of this situation. However, the real danger comes when the victim is not able to even cough or inhale. In such a situation Heimlich Maneuver is the best way to go for. In this, pressure is exerted on the chest region of the victim with both the hands to dislodge the obstacle. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Step1: Get yourself positioned behind the victim
  • Step2: Pass both of your arms around the victim’s body and interlock your fingers
  • Step3: Exert pressure inwardly and in an upward way
  • Step4: Determine if the object was dislodged if not then keep on trying


Infants are notorious for assuming they can eat anything in the world, whether it fits in their throat or not.

• Let coughing happen. If an infant or child is coughing, do not interfere – let him or her try to cough up the object. If a child can cough, he or she is getting air.

• Look for the following signs of choking and heed them, even if you didn’t witness the child putting anything into his or her mouth.

• Being unable to talk or vocalize

• Can’t breathe without difficulty

• Breathing is noisy

• Cannot cough effectively

• Changes in skin color: blue lips and fingernails

• Unconsciousness – If the child does not respond to any stimulation (such as flicking the feet with your fingertips), call emergency services immediately (if you can get someone else to call while you administer first aid, that’s even better).

Administer needed treatment. Note that the technique differs between infants and older children. If the child is less than one year old, continue to the next step. If you’re the only person present, don’t lose precious time calling emergency services yet; proceed immediately to first aid

Place the child on his or her back. Grab the feet of the baby with one hand, and slide your other hand along the back, until your hand is underneath the head. Scoop up the baby so its back is resting on your forearm and its head is resting on your hand.

Hold the baby’s jaw with your opposite hand. Don’t cover the face.

Turn the baby over so that the front of the body is now on the arm that is holding the jaw. Make sure the child’s head and neck are well supported. Place your forearm along your leg to stabilize your arm and the child. The child’s head should be away from you, and lower than his body.

Administer back blows. Use the heel of your hand to give the child 5 firm back blows between the shoulder blades. Remember to keep the head lower than the body.

Flip the child over. Grab the back of the head with the hand you used to give the back blows and flip the baby over onto the forearm, again making sure the head and neck are supported, and the head is lower than the body at all times. Lean that forearm on your thigh.

Use chest compressions. Place two fingers at the centre of the child’s breast bone, oriented vertically (lined up with the baby’s spine), about one finger width below the nipple line. Give 5 compressions.

Check again to see if the object is removed. If not, try the back blows and chest compressions again. If you cannot dislodge the object, call for emergency services or get the child to an emergency room immediately.

Begin child CPR if the child does not begin breathing normally again.


It is important to know First Aid so that you can be a help to yourself or others that may be injured. The chances of someone recovering more easily, or even surviving an accident or injury can be greatly improved if someone immediately uses first aid knowledge to help assist themKnowing what to do in these situations can be the difference between someone living or dying, between a temporary or permanent disability. First aid training is available at a number of institutions and is available to just about anyone.

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