Secret Health Fears

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Scott Mowbray

The fear: Choking on food. When I was a teenager my mom started to choke—total airway blockage—on dinner. It was completely terrifying. I had recently read my dad’s medical journal about the Heimlich maneuver and was out of my chair to try it when she coughed up the food on her own. I’ve never forgotten it, and not a week goes by that I don’t worry about choking on something. Like any dad, I used to watch my kids like a hawk for the same reason.

Reality check: Choking on food is a life-threatening emergency. About 4,000 people die by choking each year, including more than 800 children under the age of 14. To protect yourself and your family, print out Heimlich instructions (the maneuver can be performed solo) and learn how to avoid choking in the first place.

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