If someone is unresponsive, not breathing, or only gasping for air and is not moving their lips or chest, they need CPR. Typically, CPR involves rescue breathing and chest compressions to circulate oxygenated blood to the brain and heart. However, if someone is unresponsive and choking, there are some slight variations to the procedure that can make it more effective.
For example, a person may choke on something in their mouth or throat that blocks their airway. If a person is choking, a CPR-trained rescuer should pause after every 30 chest compressions to give two mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. This will help clear the obstructed airway and allow them to breathe again. After giving the victim two breaths, resume chest compressions.
People who have not had CPR training should avoid giving mouth-to-mouth breathing and instead only perform chest compressions until medical help arrives. To perform chest compressions, place one hand on the center of the victim’s chest between their nipples and the other on top. Use a firm, consistent rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute and a depth of at least 2 inches. Allow the chest to recoil between each compression to re-establish an adequate flow of blood to the heart.
It is important to assess the situation before starting CPR and ensure that it is safe for you and the victim. Check for a response by patting or shaking the victim’s shoulder and asking loudly, “Are you okay?” Also, check to see if they have a pulse by feeling the neck or wrist. You can also look at their skin color to see if it is improving from a gray or bluish tone to a normal color, which is an indication of improved oxygenation.