You bring up an excellent point. First, some black humor... On the life squads, there is (or was) a running joke about people not giving the hand sing, so the medics won't Heimlich them... You re right, choking people are more worried about what their longs aren't doing than what their hands are doing. Even if you remember the signal, what if you are alone? Hard as it will be, DO NOT PANIC. You have minutes to save yourself, and raising your blood pressure and giving yourself an epinephrine dump decrease that time.
Grab a chair with a back and throw yourself on it. Aim for just below the last rib, and slide up a bit as you make contact. Do it like you are into masochism, you are trying to mechanically force whatever air you have left up to the blockage with enough force to eject it, and you cannot afford to be a pussy about it.
Glad the help was there when you needed it!
Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.
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