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First Aid: Rescue Breathing

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Rescue breathing may be appropriate if a person collapses and stops breathing, as may occur in drowning, alcohol or drug overdose, choking, carbon monoxide poisoning, or a severe asthma attack. By breathing into another person's lungs (rescue breathing), you can supply enough oxygen to preserve life. Act quickly, because brain damage can occur after only 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen. Call 911 before you begin rescue breathing, whenever possible.

Use a protective face mask, if possible. Follow the mask's instructions.

1. Open the Airway

  • Place the victim on his or her back.

  • Press your palm against the persons forehead. At the same time hook your fingers under the chin and lift it away from the spine, as if pulling out a drawer. This tilts the head back and opens the airway. 

  • If there is a possibility of a broken neck, the vitim would need to be placed on his or her back without moving the neck and the chin should not be extended.

2. Look, Listen, and Feel

  • Look to see if the chest is rising.

  • Listen for breathing by placing your ear near the victims mouth. Feel for a breath on your cheek.

  • Continue with steps 3 to 6 if youre not sure the victim is breathing.

3. Pinch and Seal

  • Keep the head tilted and chin raised.

  • Pinch the victims nose above the nostrils with your thumb and first finger. Or follow your face masks instructions.

  • If you don't have a protective barrier, seal your lips over the victims open mouth. 

4. Blow Twice

  • Blow slowly and deeply until the chest rises. Pause to let the air flow out, then blow again.

  • If the chest doesnt rise, reposition the head and make sure the nostrils are pinched shut. 

5. Check for a Pulse

  • After 2 breaths, check for a pulse: Put 2 fingers on the groove between the neck muscle and the Adams apple. Feel for a pulse for 5-10 seconds.

6. Give More Breaths

  • If an adult has a pulse but is not breathing, give one breath every 5 seconds.

  • If a child 1-8 years has a pulse but is not breath ing, give one slow breath every 3 seconds.

  • If there is no pulse, begin CPR—but only if you've had proper training.

 

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