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Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO)

Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO) Pronunciation: ˈfȯr-ən ˈbä-dē ˈer-ˌwā əb-ˈstrək-shən (F-B-A-O)

Definition: Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO) occurs when a foreign object partially or fully blocks the airways, preventing a person from breathing adequately. The foreign object could be food, a toy, or any other small object that accidentally enters the airways. FBAO can lead to choking and is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate action to clear the airway.

Frequently Asked Questions About Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO)

What are the signs of Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO)?

Signs of FBAO can vary depending on the severity of the blockage. In a partial blockage, a person may cough forcefully, wheeze, or have difficulty breathing. If the blockage is complete, the person may be unable to breathe, speak, or cough at all, and they may clutch at their throat or turn blue. These are signs of a choking emergency.

How should I respond to Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO)?

If the person can speak, cough, or breathe, encourage them to continue coughing to try to clear the blockage. If the person cannot speak, cough, or breathe, or they begin to turn blue, call 911 or your local emergency number and perform the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts) on adults and children over 1 year, and back blows and chest thrusts on infants under 1 year.

Can Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO) be prevented?

Many cases of FBAO can be prevented by taking precautions such as cutting food into small pieces, supervising young children while they’re eating and playing, and keeping small objects out of reach of children. Additionally, learning first aid and choking relief techniques can help you act effectively if FBAO occurs.