Breathing Emergencies!

Breathing emergencies can be caused by drowning, electric shock, poisonous gases, etc. Stopped breathing is extremely serious! In as little as four minutes without oxygen, brain damage may occur. When an adult is unresponsive, call or send for an ambulance immediately, then:

  1. Open the airway by lifting the chin and pressing back on forehead.
  2. Check for breathing by: looking for movement of the chest, listening for sounds of breathing, or feeling for air moving against your cheek.

Artificial Respiration

If there is no breathing but you can feel a heartbeat, begin breathing for the victim. For adults and children, use mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration. For infants, use mouth-to-mouth-and-nose artificial respiration.


  1. Take a deep breath and seal your mouth around the victim’s mouth.
  2. Pinch the nostrils.
  3. Give one slow breath and watch for chest to rise.
  4. Move your mouth away and release nostrils to let air out.
  5. Look for the chest to fall.
  6. Give a second slow breath.
  7. Give a second slow breath.

If the chest does not rise, reposition the head and neck, make sure there is a good seal on the nose and mouth, and try again. If the chest still does not rise but a heartbeat is still felt, give first aid for choking.

After giving two breaths, check for a carotid pulse in the neck of the victim for a maximum of 10 seconds.

If a pulse is felt, continue breathing into the victim at the rate of one breath every five seconds. Recheck pulse and breathing every 2 minutes.

If no pulse is felt, start CPR if you are trained. If there is no help available, continue giving artificial respiration until the victim starts to breath or until help arrives.