What are the indications of asphyxiation?

Asphyxiation occurs if the body is deprived of oxygen. A usual cause is choking but other environmental and medical conditions such as smoking inhalation or complications while under general anesthesia are potential causes.

Difficulty breathing

The characteristic indication of asphyxiation is inability to breathe normally. This might manifest as clutching at the throat, wheezing, agitation or loss of consciousness.

Oftentimes, the individual turns bluish due to the lack of oxygen and gasps for breath but could not get air. If an individual is unable to breathe, call for medical assistance right away.



The characteristic indication of asphyxiation is inability to breathe normally.

Right after asphyxiation, a distinctive foam might form in the airways. Take note that this arises if the lung mucus combines with air in the trachea as the individual attempts to breathe unsuccessfully. The foam might be present in the lungs or the throat and likely to occur in cases of drowning.

Injuries to the neck

A vital indication of asphyxiation is an evident neck injury that prevents the individual from breathing normally. You should check for any physical blockage around the neck that disrupts the air supply.

Bruises in the neck, bleeding or a fractured neck indicates a possible cause of asphyxiation. The victim might also wreak wounds using their fingernails as they claw at their throat to breathe.


Victims of asphyxiation often have bloodshot eyes. The eyes might appear reddened with small-sized red or purplish splotches. The condition develops due to the accumulation of pressure inside the head which leads to the rupture of the small capillaries in the eyes. The bleeding can also occur in the neck, face and the lungs.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on asphyxiation is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this condition by taking a standard first aid course with Saskatoon First Aid.


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