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If an adult you are with begins to choke, don't hit the person on the back, says the National Safety Council. A thump on the back may force the piece of food or other material deeper into the throat. If the person cannot breathe, use the Heimlich maneuver: Hold him or her from behind in a standing position. Wrap your arms around his or her waist and put one fist against the abdomen. Make sure your fist is slightly above the navel but below the rib cage. Holding your other hand over your fist, quickly thrust in and up with both hands 4 to 10 times. Call for emergency medical help if the person continues to choke.